Advanced Heart Failure Clinic

The Advanced Heart Failure team at Iowa Heart Center is dedicated to providing a comprehensive program of medical evaluation, treatment and extensive education to patients.

Advanced Heart Failure Services:
• Evaluation and medical therapy for advanced heart failure
• Advanced surgical treatment options
  -Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)
  -High risk coronary revascularization and valve repair
• Heart failure disease management
• Outpatient IV therapies
• Partnership with established heart transplant centers
• Education on medications, diet and lifestyle changes
• Exercise and cardiac rehabilitation
• Access to research studies and clinical trials
• Care support (nursing, social worker,pastoral care)
• Advanced care planning

What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure simply means that your heart’s pumping action is weaker than normal and cannot meet your body’s need for blood flow. Heart failure can occur when the heart’s pumping action is normal, but the heart muscle is stiff and will not relax. This interferes with the heart’s ability to fill with blood and meet the body’s blood flow needs. Weakened heart muscle can also affect other parts of the body, including the kidneys.

Common causes of heart failure
• coronary artery disease (blockage of blood vessels in the heart; usually from a previous heart attack)
• heart muscle disorder
• cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle)
• heart valve disease
• high blood pressure (hypertension)
• irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation)
• virus
• drug and alcohol abuse
• diabetes
• sleep apnea
• Obesity

Heart Failure Signs, Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of heart failure are associated with the congestion that develops as fluid backs up into the lungs and leaks into the tissues. Other symptoms occur because not enough oxygen-rich blood gets to the body.
If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Cough
• Difficulty breathing during daily activity or when lying flat
• Swelling in your feet, ankles, legs, fingers or belly
• Weight gain; three to five pounds over 24 hours
• Increased urination at night and decreased urination during the day

Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Sudden or severe chest pain
• Severe shortness of breath
• Unexplained sweating or weakness
• Trouble talking
• Weak legs or arms

While heart failure cannot be cured, it can be treated so that you may still lead a full life. Heart failure medications may help you feel better and treatment may reduce fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling; maintain and restore energy and reduce further damage of the heart muscle.

Other important measures include:
• Each morning, weigh yourself after urinating. Record your weight.
• Take your medications as directed by your physician. Carry a list of medications with you wherever you go.
• Limit salt and sodium intake.
• Stop smoking completely; ask your physician for advice today.
• Stay active.
• Lose weight if you are overweight.