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What is Heart Failure?

If you suffer from congestive heart failure (CHF) or you’re at high risk for developing heart failure, we offer a comprehensive program to constantly monitor your heart and keep your condition from worsening.

Heart failure is usually caused by damage from conditions like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, structural heart defects or heart attacks. In heart failure, or cardiomyopathy, the heart does not pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body.

Your heart will work harder to overcompensate for the defect, but eventually it won’t be able to properly pump blood to the rest of your body. When the muscle is too thick, the heart can't relax and fills with blood resulting in diastolic heart failure. Eventually the heart will become too weak to squeeze properly and systolic heart failure occurs. Because the heart’s pumping ability decreases, blood backs up in the veins and leads to fluid buildup in the lungs and other parts of the body called congestive heart failure.

Unfortunately, the condition worsens with time so aggressive treatment and constant management are necessary. Through non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring, our cardiologists can easily track your progress and address problems before they cause complications.

Heart Failure Clinic in Hendersonville

At Tennessee Heart & Vascular, we provide a comprehensive, individualized approach to treating heart failure. We offer:

  • Comprehensive patient and family education
  • Guideline-directed medical therapy
  • Treatment of co-morbid conditions including anemia, sleep apnea, diabetes and COPD
  • Care coordination with other medical providers
  • Weekly outpatient assessment to determine need for IV diuretics or medication titration
  • Urgent evaluation for clinical status change to decrease ER visits
  • Lab studies to determine treatment needs and monitor therapy effectiveness
  • Constant communication of status and lab results
  • Multidisciplinary care including nutrition, pharmacy, social services
  • 24-hour on-call support

Heart Failure Treatment

There is no cure for heart failure, due to damage that has accumulated over time. However, you can address your symptoms and dramatically improve your quality of life. Partnering with your doctors and your family will help you successfully manage heart failure. Treatment can include lifestyle changes, medications or surgery.

At Tennessee Heart & Vascular, we recommend the following lifestyle changes to slow heart failure progression:

  • Avoid alcohol or limiting it to one drink two or three times a week
  • Avoid or limit caffeine
  • Eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet
  • Exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Keep track of your symptoms and report any changes to your physician.
  • See your physician regularly

Depending on your condition, medication for heart failure can help manage your symptoms. Some medicines can help strengthen the heart muscle's pumping action or expand the blood vessels to improve circulation. Your cardiologist might also prescribe other medication to reduce the amount of water and sodium in the body, in order to reduce the heart's workload. It is very important to keep track of your medications and follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

Even though there is no cure for heart failure, surgery can help improve your symptoms or prevent further damage to your heart. Coronary artery bypass surgery is sometimes recommended increase blood flow to the heart. If your heart is severely damaged and has lost the majority of its pumping ability, a surgeon can remove the damaged areas of scar tissue to help your heart pump more efficiently. If you require heart surgery, your cardiologist will discuss all your options and connect you to an expert cardiovascular surgeon.