Heart failure is a pathophysiologic state in which the heart is unable to deliver adequate blood to the body, either at rest or with activity, and also fails to maintain normal intracardiac pressures. Heart failure is a syndrome of signs and symptoms that often progresses without appropriate intervention. To patients, “heart failure” is a distasteful term because it implies sudden doom. However, it is more commonly a chronic condition that limits activity, causes anxiety from an inability to breathe and may result in abdominal bloating, leg swelling, sleep difficulty, dizziness, depression and fear as well as financial difficulty.
For a variety of reasons, heart failure forces people to live life differently from before their diagnosis. On a national scale, heart failure is a public health issue with major economic implications.
To the clinical care team, a successful program requires a chronic disease management model that involves proper clinical assessment, titration of guideline-directed medical therapies, patient self-management strategies and the ability to make interventions when needed, as defined by the patient’s status. This implies a continuous care model that is not constrained to episodic office visits.
Heart failure touches our very human condition, including vulnerability, denial, uncertainty, resilience, perceptions and values. How do we put this all together to improve the health of our patients?
We do this by listening to our patients and appreciating what they experience. We also need to understand the pathophysiology of the disease state, use clinical assessment to facilitate medication adjustments, titrate disease-modifying therapies gradually, convince patients of the benefit of taking medications and create a care approach that allows intervention in a timely fashion.
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Emory Advanced Heart Failure Therapy Center is committed to the continued health and safety of all patients. During this time, we are taking all necessary precautions to screen for coronavirus (COVID-19) and to prevent its potential spread. We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and are working with experts throughout Emory Healthcare to keep your patients safe. For the most up-to-date information for our referring partners, click here.