Heart Failure Diagnosis
Heart failure is a condition wherein the heart does not pump as it should. To accurately diagnose heart failure, your physician must carefully assess your medical history, review any current symptoms, and complete a physical examination. The process is quite simple and noninvasive. You’ll be in and out of your first appointment relatively quickly. Furthermore, your doctor will look for numerous risk factors, including diabetes and high blood pressure – two diseases that are known to cause heart failure.
We may order the following tests to diagnose heart failure in a patient:
Blood tests – A sample of your blood may be used to check kidney, liver, and thyroid function. Such an analysis will indicate whether any disease affects your heart.
- Chest X-ray – An x-ray image will allow your physician the chance to see the condition of your heart and lungs. Heart disease causes the organ to appear enlarged.
- Echocardiogram – An echocardiogram is crucial in diagnosing heart failure. We’ll better determine between systolic or diastolic heart failure.
Heart Failure Recovery
First and foremost, it’s essential you understand there is no cure for heart failure. Damage to the heart may lessen over time, but it will never disappear altogether. Now, this does not mean your heart must quickly stop working. It merely means your heart will not pump enough blood to meet your body’s demands.
The choices you make in diet, exercise, and medications can keep your heart failure from worsening. In fact, you’ll most likely feel better and improve overall heart function. After diagnosis, testing, and treatment, you’ll need to track your signs and symptoms. Alert your doctor to any changes promptly, even if you’re feeling well. On the most basic level, you should try to reduce stress and live healthily. A better lifestyle leads to improved heart function. After treatment, plan some rest time. Try to use less energy and focus on your health!
In our outpatient clinic, our board certified cardiologists have extensive knowledge and expertise in treating heart failure and work together with a certified nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, registered nurse, and medical assistant, all trained in heart failure management and treatment. Our goals are:
- To treat your symptoms actively
- To decrease emergency department visits
- To minimize hospitalizations and readmissions
What To Expect At Your Clinic Appointment
Once you schedule your appointment, we:
- Review symptoms and medications
- Provide education so you understand the disease process fully
- Coordinate care with other departments if needed including cardiac rehabilitation, your pharmacy, home health and dietary
We keep your primary care doctor and/or cardiologist informed about your clinic visits, which complement the care they provide, not replace it.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is heart failure?
A. Heart failure means that the heart cannot pump oxygen-rich blood to meet the body’s needs. When the heart is not pumping properly, blood can back up into the heart and the lungs. This increased pressure then forces fluid from the blood into the lungs as well as other places, causing swelling.
Q. What are signs and symptoms of heart failure?
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness, fatigue, loss of energy
- Abdominal discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal swelling (belly bloat)
- Swollen ankles/legs
Q. What does the Excela Heart Failure Clinic offer to patients?
A. Our clinic offers a comprehensive approach to manage patients with heart failure. Our goal is to treat your symptoms actively and decrease emergency department visits and hospitalizations. We also serve as an educational resource to lessen or prevent hospital readmissions and increase your understanding about heart failure ― including the disease process, diet, medications and symptoms ― to improve your quality of life. Outpatient diuretic infusion is also available for those patients who need it. We also help you recognize the early signs and symptoms of heart failure and when to seek treatment, avoiding an emergency situation if possible.
Q. Who will I see at the Excela Heart Failure Clinic? Does this replace my Primary Care Physician or my Cardiologist?
A. In our outpatient clinic, our board certified cardiologists have extensive knowledge and expertise in treating heart failure. They work together with a certified nurse practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse and a medical assistant who are trained in heart failure management and treatment.
Our team also coordinates care with other medical providers, if needed, including home health, cardiac rehabilitation, dieticians and pharmacy. We keep your primary care doctor and/or cardiologist informed about your clinic visits, which are meant to complement the care they provide, not replace it.
Q. How can I become a patient at the Excela Heart Failure Clinic?
A. There are several ways you can be referred to the Excela Health Heart Failure Clinic. They include:
The Heart Failure Clinic is located in Medical Commons One, 530 South Street, Second Floor, Greensburg, Pa. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-771-1234 or visit us on-line.