In the Heart Failure Clinic at The Cardiac & Vascular Institute, our trained providers are committed to stratifying the care of patients who are at risk for heart failure and for those who have been diagnosed with heart failure. Dr. Ann Tong is not only the Clinic Director, but is also our Director of Echocardiography and Valvular Heart Disease overseeing our outpatient and inpatient Echocardiography Lab and Heart Failure Clinic.

The goal of our Heart Failure Clinic is to optimize patient’s medical therapy, manage patient’s heart failure conditions, and provide education specifically to detect any changes in cardiovascular status. Ultimately our goal is to help our patients who have this condition live a longer and more active life.

What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart can’t pump blood to the rest of the body with enough force. Some people have both problems.

The term “heart failure” doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. However, heart failure is a serious condition that requires medical care.

Overview

Heart failure develops over time as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker. The condition can affect the right side of the heart only, or it can affect both sides of the heart. Most cases involve both sides of the heart.

Right-side heart failure occurs if the heart can’t pump enough blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Left-side heart failure occurs if the heart can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Right-side heart failure may cause fluid to build up in the feet, ankles, legs, liver, abdomen, and the veins in the neck. Right-side and left-side heart failure also may cause shortness of breath and fatigue (tiredness).

The leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart. Examples include coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Outlook

Heart failure is a very common condition. About 5.1 million people in the United States have heart failure.

Both children and adults can have the condition, although the symptoms and treatments differ. This article focuses on heart failure in adults.

Currently, heart failure has no cure. However, treatments—such as medicines and lifestyle changes—can help people who have the condition live longer and more active lives. Researchers continue to study new ways to treat heart failure and its complications.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.