Diagnosis and Treatment in the Comprehensive Heart Failure Program
We have many ways to assess and treat your heart failure condition. Among them are:
- Cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology
Working in the Pilla Heart Center’s six specialized cardiac catheterization laboratories, two of which are dedicated to electrophysiology, our cardiologists and advanced medical professionals apply leading-edge technologies to heart failure diagnosis and treatment. By using these sophisticated methods, our team can determine the severity of illness and pinpoint appropriate solutions for the best patient results.
- Cardiopulmonary stress test
This diagnostic test helps the Comprehensive Heart Failure Program analyze whether the heart and/or lungs are responsible for symptoms. It also helps determine whether certain interventions to treat congestive heart failure would be effective. During this testing, patients walk on a slowly accelerating treadmill which registers the heart and lungs’ response to exercise. Those results are compared with many factors, including age, gender, and efficiency of exercise.
- Non-invasive impedance cardiography
A simple, painless test that is much like an EKG (electrocardiogram), this study measures how well the heart is pumping blood through the body. It’s used to help our specialists assess fluid levels in the lungs.
- Cardiac resynchronization therapy
When heart failure causes the right and left ventricles of the heart to lose strength, it usually enlarges the heart, causing irregular heartbeat. Biventricular cardiac pacemakers are implanted to keep the ventricles beating simultaneously, allowing coordinated and effective heart pumping. In our region, the Comprehensive Heart Failure Program has pioneered the use of echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, to optimize the resynchronization performance of pacemakers. This supports a beneficial response to heart failure therapy using implanted devices. Resynchronization helps the heart function better, lessens symptoms, and prolongs longevity.
- Mechanical cardiac assist (VAD) program
Some heart failure patients whose hearts are not pumping blood sufficiently, even with lifestyle changes, medication or pacemaker use, may be eligible to receive an implanted ventricular assist device, or VAD. This mechanical heart device takes blood from the left ventricle of the heart and pumps it through the body. The VAD, sometimes called an LVAD or left ventricular assist device, improves blood flow and organ function, helping patients become stronger. Cardiac assist therapy helps patients improve quality of life, return to daily activities and decrease hospitalizations. After VAD implantation, patients work with the treatment team to maintain their health, manage the device and have regular follow-up appointments.
- Aquapheresis ultrafiltration therapy
One serious heart failure complication occurs when salt and water build up in the body, causing swelling, weight gain, and shortness of breath from lung congestion. When this develops, patients may need to be hospitalized. Our team uses special aquapheresis technology, an ultrafiltration method, to remove water and salt from the blood. The blood is then safely reintroduced into the body within a minute. This therapy relieves symptoms and restores fluid balance, helping patients feel better and possibly be discharged faster. The Comprehensive Heart Failure Program has offered this therapy since 2009 and seen fewer readmissions and greater improvement in overall quality of life for our patients.
Learn more about inpatient care in the Comprehensive Heart Failure Program.