- Congestive heart failure (CHF) means that the heart muscle is weakened. When the weakened heart muscle is not able to pump adequately, fluid can build up in the lungs.
- CHF has many causes, and CHF therapy focuses on eliminating the cause, reducing symptoms, and preventing a further progressive decrease in the heart's pumping function.
- Medications that treat CHF rid the body of excess fluid, reduce the blood vessels' resistance to ejection of blood, and combat the production of hormones that increase the heart's workload.
The goal of heart failure therapy is to lessen the effect of heart failure symptoms and to keep people with the condition out of the hospital. Heart failure caused by valve disease, toxins such as drugs used in chemotherapy, or congenital heart defects is often reversible. People with heart failure caused by permanently damaged or weakened heart muscle, however, require long-term lifestyle modification and medication.
Virginia Heart offers a comprehensive Heart Failure Program for patients with Heart Failure. This program is provided by our Advanced Practice Providers (NP’s and PA’s) under the supervision of our cardiologists.
As part of the program, patients are seen regularly in all of our clinics by our Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in order to maximize heart failure medications, provide evidenced based heart failure medical care, closely monitor fluid status, and provide comprehensive education to patients and their families. The overall goal of the program is to improve heart function, prevent and treat fluid overload, reduce heart failure hospitalizations, and increase patient’s knowledge and understanding of heart failure and its treatment so they can take an active role and be successful in managing this complex disease process.
Some of the patients education provided during these clinic visits include:
- What is Heart Failure ?
- What can I do to manage Heart Failure?
- Heart Failure Medications and how they work
- Normal heart function and how Heart Failure impacts heart function
- Low Sodium Diet: Food to eat and foods to avoid
- New treatment modalities for Heart Failure
- Heart Failure device therapy and remote monitoring
- Exercise and Nutrition for patients with Heart Failure
The Virginia Heart Heart Failure Program also has the capability of remotely monitoring many of our Heart Failure patient via various implantable devices which are appropriate for some of our patients. These devices are a way of monitoring patients wirelessly from their homes to detect changes in fluid level which can often require a change in medications. Please ask your Cardiologist or Advanced Practice Provider if you may be a candidate for one of these devices.
Our Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants will work closely with you and your Cardiologist helping you manage your Heart Failure and improve your quality of life.