Heart Failure Program
Multi-faceted Treatment: The Congestive Heart Failure program at The University Hospital is designed to minimize the length of hospital stay for heart failure patients and to reduce admissions and readmissions. At the same time, the program also focuses on improving the patient’s ability to accomplish the routines of daily living as well as to reduce the number of medical complications associated with congestive heart failure.
The reduction of length of stay is accomplished through early and aggressive therapy for patients admitted with heart failure. Echocardiolography is used in the Emergency department to make an immediate diagnosis so that therapy can start without delay. Admissions and re-admissions to the hospital are reduced because of a committed clinical staff which ensures that patients are seen frequently, adjustments to medications made as needed, and regularly re-enforce with patients the need for medical and dietary compliance.
The clinical staff help patients increase their ability to accomplish the routines of daily living by aggressively following up to be sure they take their medicines, and participate in a nutritional counseling and exercise rehab program. Patients who remain symptomatic despite receiving the best of conventional care are encouraged to participate in clinical trials.
The Program serves both hospitalized patients and as well as providing outpatient services by appointment at the NACC and Doctors Office Center (DOC).
Patients experiencing heart attacks need to be treated within minutes to achieve the best outcomes. Acknowledging that “Time is Muscle,” Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Cardiology at University Hospital have implemented a new program designed to ensure the quickest possible response time. According to this plan, the EMS staff immediately transmits an EKG to a Cardiologist’s handheld device when responding to a patient complaining of chest pain. This way, they receive a diagnosis and direction from a cardiologist at the hospital well before the patient arrives at the hospital where medical staff is ready to proceed with the appropriate treatment.
Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs) rises above normal levels and may become life threatening.
Pulmonary hypertension is frequently misdiagnosed and has often progressed to late stage by the time it is accurately diagnosed. Pulmonary hypertension has been historically chronic and incurable with a poor survival rate. However, new treatments are available which have significantly improved prognosis.
Recent data indicate that the length of survival is continuing to improve, with some patients able to manage the disorder for 15 to 20 years or longer.
The treatment of primary pulmonary hypertension is complex. Patients benefit from referral to centers that specialize in the management of this uncommon problem.
Some orally administered drugs known as vasodilators drugs such as calcium channel blockers may alleviate pulmonary vasoconstriction and prolong life in about 20 percent of patients with primary pulmonary hypertension. In order to avoid significant adverse effects, patients are usually tested with potent, short-acting and titratable before a long-term therapy is selected.
A continuous infusion of a potent, short-acting vasodilator medication Epoprostenol (Flolan), or prostacyclin, is considered to be an important advance in the treatment of primary pulmonary hypertension.and most patients are able to learn how to prepare and infuse the drug. Patients may also be treated for chronic anticoagulation with warfarin (Coumadin)
Correction of underlying problem:
Early diagnosis and corrective treatment of an underlying problem may minimize the risk of congestive heart failure. Medicines may be prescribed to increase cardiac output and others to reduce volume overload.
Dietary regimen: Low-salt diet
Corrective surgery is an option both to treat underlying conditions to prevent them from leading to congestive heart failure. Surgery may also be done in some instances for the patient with congestive heart failure.
Lung Transplant (LINK) Primary pulmonary hypertension is usually progressive and ultimately fatal. Lung transplantation is an option in some patients younger than 65 years who have pulmonary Hypertension
Atrial septosotomy (investigational)