Managing Heart Failure – Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute

Managing Heart Failure – Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute

January 7, 2020 0 By Bertrand Dibbert


Heart failure is sometimes misunderstood as
being the same thing as a heart attack or a cardiac arrest. A heart attack occurs when one of the arteries
of the heart becomes occluded and the muscle that’s supplied by that artery starts to die. That can cause heart failure later on in life
but that’s not the same thing as heart failure. Heart failure can be reversed if you can identify
one of the underlying causes that’s reversible. The main reason for heart failure in this
country is from ischemic heart disease or blockages in the arteries of the heart. High blood pressure, infection, thyroid problems
can cause heart failure, rhythm disturbances like atrial fibrillation, something we’re
hearing more and more about, alcohol consumption which is another major cause of heart failure
in this country, you have the patient abstain from alcohol. There are several other conditions which can
be changed and help the patient. The first thing we do is try to identify the
underlying cause. The reason that’s important is because sometimes
we can treat that condition and try to improve symptoms and then also to improve longevity. The symptoms of heart failure are shortness
of breath, excessive fatigue and tiredness, and then the signs are primarily swelling. For most patients that swelling occurs in
the lower extremities, usually in the legs but there can be swelling everywhere. I’ve really enjoyed taking care of patients
with heart failure for a variety of reasons. I’ve found that doing very simple things like
getting to know the patient, trying to make them do the right things with their diet,
doing the right things in terms of activity, checking up on them, letting them know you
care, makes a major difference in their lives.