Heart Failure Treatment

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is weakened and unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Many things can cause heart failure, but the most common causes are diseases that damage the heart. These include coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease; high blood pressure; and diabetes.

Heart failure usually develops gradually. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the most common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck

Symptoms usually grow worse as the condition becomes more severe.

Early treatment for heart failure typically involves lifestyle changes, such as losing excess weight and eating a heart-healthy diet, and medications to treat the underlying causes and manage symptoms.

In more severe cases, some people may develop arrhythmias, or irregular heart beats. For these patients, more advanced treatment options, including the placement of pacing and defibrillating devices, may be recommended.

On staff at Baptist Cardiovascular Services are cardiologists who are board certified in electrophysiology, a subsection of cardiology focusing on treating heart arrhythmias. For the care of patients diagnosed with arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) or heart failure, Baptist provides a variety of treatment options. These range from advanced electrophysiology for the placement of pacemakers and defibrillators to highly specialized intracardiac (within the heart) procedures.

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

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