Tulane Health System offers a comprehensive heart failure management program to help patients in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, understand what heart failure is – and to create individualized treatment plans specifically for them.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure is a serious medical condition in which the heart does not pump blood around the body as well as it should, which means blood cannot deliver the oxygen a person’s body needs to work normally.
Heart failure is often the result of other medical conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks or high blood pressure, which damage the heart muscle or cause it to work too hard. Heart failure does not mean a person’s heart is about to stop working. However, it does mean the heart is having a difficult time meeting the body’s needs.
Heart failure affects each person differently and can develop at any age, but it becomes more common we get older.
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath, which can happen even during mild activity
- Trouble breathing while lying down
- Weight gain and swelling of the legs
Many different factors can put a person at risk for heart failure:
- High blood pressure
- Previous heart attack
- Heart valve disorders
- Enlarged heart, or family history of enlarged heart
Simple steps anyone can take to help reduce the risk of heart failure:
- Seek educational materials to better understand heart failure, its symptoms and how to manage it
- Limit salt intake
- Weigh yourself daily and contact a physician if weight changes significantly
- Exercise, based on a physician’s recommendations
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Schedule routine check-ups with your primary care physician and/or cardiologist
Why choose the Tulane Health System heart failure management program?
Doctors can do more than ever today to help heart failure patients live normal lives and reduce the chance of hospitalization. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential. In partnership with the Tulane University Heart & Vascular Institute, our dedicated team of cardiovascular specialists will:
- Fully diagnose the condition so patients can learn how to manage it
- Create treatment and medication plans appropriate to each patient’s specific condition and other health needs
- Educate patients and their family members on the treatment and management of heart failure, lifestyle modifications and medications surrounding heart failure
- Coordinate and communicate with all providers involved in the care process
- Provide routine check-ups to keep patients healthy
- Improve and maintain quality of life, minimizing the need for hospitalization
How does the program work?
Because there are different types of heart failure, a physician will typically order an echocardiogram to determine a person’s ejection fraction (EF), which is a measurement of how well the heart is pumping. A typical EF is 60 percent, while an EF of less than 60 percent can indicate the heart is not pumping normally. This echocardiogram can help a doctor determine what type of heart failure a patient is experiencing.
The heart failure management program can then offer the resources needed to understand and manage heart failure and live a normal life.
To learn more or make an appointment, please contact the Tulane Cardiology Clinic at (504) 988-6113.