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Patients with heart failure typically experience decreased tolerance of 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:
Occasionally, 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.
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 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 heart failure, patients and their families receive extensive information and education.
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 includes: