Heart Failure Clinic
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure means your heart muscle is not functioning as efficiently as it should, leaving you with a lack of energy, shortness of breath, swelling of extremities and other problems. It is a serious diagnosis, but can be managed with medication and/or lifestyle changes. Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome for which there is no diagnostic test.
Causes of Heart Failure
Doctors will diagnose heart failure based on a careful history, physical examination and tests. Many other heart conditions can lead to heart failure. If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, chances are you also have, or have had, one or more of the following conditions:
- Coronary artery disease
- A heart attack in the past
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal heart valves
- Heart muscle disease
- Congenital heart defect
- Severe lung disease
- Sleep apnea
The CCHC Heart Failure Clinic
Our Heart Failure Clinic helps patients who want to avoid hospitalization and remain as active as possible.
We take a personalized, team-based approach to managing symptoms and provide coordinated care with patients and their physicians to minimize hospital stays and to educate patients and their caregivers on how to stay as healthy as possible. You even could be referred to the Heart Failure Clinic for same-day or next-day treatment of heart failure symptoms.
If you are referred to our Heart Failure clinic, your treatment team will include cardiologist and heart failure specialist Amy French, MD, and nurse practitioner Shannon List, RN, MSN-FNP. Dr. French completed fellowships in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology at Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Shannon completed the Heart Failure Certification Program at the University of Southern Indiana. They are joined at the Clinic by Tina Soares, RN, of the Visiting Nurse Association, pharmacologists, nutritionists and integrated care specialists to treat and educate patients, and coordinate with physicians.
Symptoms of heart failure
If you have heart failure, you may experience:
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath
- Fatigue and weakness from very little effort
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen
- Rapid weight gain from fluid retention (3 to 4 pounds in two days, or 2 pounds overnight)
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack
Patients experiencing heart attack symptoms should call 9-1-1 for emergency care.