Heart failure (HF) is a chronic, progressive condition that results in restricted blood flow to the heart; this condition sometimes requires heart transplantation or other surgeries.
The Heart & Vascular Institute‘s physicians are highly experienced in advanced medical care for heart failure. Caregivers include surgeons trained in heart transplantation, as well as implantation and management of artificial pumps. In the Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a multidisciplinary team addresses prevention, diagnosis, and management of all stages of heart failure.
What We Treat
Heart failure (HF), also known as cardiomyopathy, is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for oxygen. It is a long-term condition that worsens over time and can be affected by both genetic and lifestyle factors. Heart failure can have many underlying causes, such as:
Correct management of heart failure can improve both quality and length of life.
Treatment ranges from non-surgical treatments, such as lifestyle changes or medication, to advanced surgical procedures.
Diagnosis of Heart Failure
Patients with heart failure typically experience decreased tolerance for exercise, decreased ability to participate in activity, and shortness of breath. They do not necessarily experience chest pain.
Diagnosis starts with questions about the patient’s medical history and symptoms, and a physical examination.
Physicians use several tests during the diagnosis and management of heart failure. Most tests are noninvasive, such as:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): A recording of the electrical activity of the heart, used to detect heart abnormalities.
- X-ray: Detailed images of the heart and the inside of the chest.
- Echocardiogram: A test that uses sound waves to reveal the size, shape, and functioning of the heart.
Occasionally, the diagnosis may require the use of invasive tests, such as cardiac catheterization, in which a catheter is placed in the heart to observe blood flow and blood pressure.
Treatment of Heart Failure
The Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation Program provides a full range of treatment options that can be tailored to each patient’s needs. Treatment aims to reduce the heart’s workload. Non-surgical treatment options include prescription medication or lifestyle changes, such as improvements in diet and exercise. In addition, the program offers a range of surgical procedures, including heart transplantation.
As much as possible, the program aims to keep patients out of the hospital and maintain their lifestyle and independence. Some patients will be admitted to the hospital for initial diagnosis and treatment, with regular follow-up appointments required in the outpatient Heart Failure (HF) Clinic after discharge. For less severe cases, outpatient-only treatment is an option.
In certain cases, devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators may be needed if symptoms persist. Advanced cases are evaluated to determine suitability for artificial heart pumps or heart transplantation.
In all stages of the heart failure, patients and their families receive extensive information and education.
Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation Program Caregivers
The Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation Program is a multidisciplinary effort that involves a diverse range of healthcare professionals. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:
- Cardiac surgeons
- Intensive care physicians
- Specialized nurses
- Pharmacotherapy specialists
- Case managers
- Physical therapists