Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious problem, responsible for one of the highest rates of hospitalization in the United States for any medical condition. Starling now runs a CHF Clinic to resolve issues – quickly and proactively – in order to help patients reduce trips to the hospital or ER, as well as increase patient satisfaction.
Heart failure means that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal, or the heart muscles are stiff and do not relax and fill properly. With heart failure, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate and the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. The chambers of the heart respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body. This helps to keep the blood moving for a short while, but then the heart muscle walls weaken and are not able to pump as strongly. The kidneys often respond by causing the body to retain fluid (water) and sodium. If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested. Congestive heart failure is the term used to describe this condition.
When Intervention Is Needed
CHF can be made worse by a number of factors. For instance, eating salty foods or a change in diet over the holidays can increase symptoms. It is important to reduce fluid retention before the situation gets more serious. Prescription pill diuretics, sometimes called water pills, can help rid your body of salt (sodium) and water. However, these medications are not as effective as intravenous (IV) diuretics which are delivered directly into a vein.
That is why Starling is opening a new CHF Clinic to provide patients with a comfortable setting to get prompt treatment to reduce the effects of CHF and provide ongoing education on how to manage the disease.
Partnering For Your Success
Heart failure management is a team effort – making you and your physician the key players on the team. Our staff will work closely with your physicians to keep them updated about your progress.
As a patient referred to our CHF Clinic, you are an active participant in your treatment plan. You will learn how to control CHF through:
- Medication compliance
- Making dietary changes as needed
- Making lifestyle changes, such as monitoring and tracking your weight on a daily basis
- Seeing your doctor regularly
At the Clinic, we will administer intravenous (IV) diuretics to reduce water and salt retention. This important process can prevent CHF from worsening and will hopefully eliminate the need for hospitalization.
What to Expect
Your Starling cardiologist or primary care provider will refer you directly to the CHF Clinic if you show symptoms of congestive heart failure. Symptoms may include swollen ankles, weight gain, shortness of breath especially when lying down at night, fatigue, and rapid/ irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will make sure you are a good candidate for this Clinic, as some of these symptoms could be due to another illness, such as pneumonia.
When you arrive at the Clinic:
- You will have a consultation with a cardiology provider who will educate you about the need to monitor daily weight; lifestyle changes, including low sodium diet; and medication information.
- We will check appropriate labs, weight, and vital signs.
- A nurse will administer an intravenous diuretic and monitor blood pressure.
- An APRN will check in with you after you receive the diuretic to see how you are feeling.
- Within a week, you will be seen by a cardiology provider to see whether you require more IV diuresis.
Our CHF Clinic will provide you with continued follow-up care for as long as it is needed. Our goal is to help you live well with CHF.
Quality Care – Close to Home
Most CHF clinics are connected to hospitals, which entails travel into major cities, parking issues, and a lot of paperwork. We make it easy for our patients. Treatment is provided in a warm and inviting setting and we get you in and out quickly so you can resume your life. We even offer complimentary valet parking.
With the right care, heart failure will not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
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