Heart Failure

Heart failure is a serious condition, but with proper care, you can live a normal life. Our team will help you manage your condition with medications, healthy lifestyle changes and advanced surgical treatments.

What is Heart Failure? 

Heart failure is a condition in which your heart is not pumping blood efficiently. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Many conditions that damage the heart muscle can cause heart failure, including: 

Symptoms of Heart Failure 

The weakening of the heart's pumping ability causes symptoms including: 

  • Blood and fluid backing up into the lungs 
  • Fluid in the feet, ankles and legs, causing swelling known as edema 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Dizziness, fatigue or weakness 
  • Difficulty lying flat or having to sleep upright 
  • Chest pain 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat 

Diagnosing Heart Failure 

Our cardiac specialists at Wake Forest Baptist use the latest tools and techniques to determine whether you have heart failure. We begin with a physical exam and your medical and family history. Your physician may recommend any of the following tests: 

  • Blood tests, especially B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) blood test 
  • Cardiovascular imaging, including CT, MRI and echocardiogram 
  • Chest X-ray 
  • Diagnostic catheterization
  • Ejection fraction (EF) to determine the amount of blood the heart can pump with each beat 
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) 
  • Stress test 

Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis at Wake Forest. 

Treating Heart Failure at Wake Forest Baptist 

After a comprehensive evaluation, we will develop a heart failure management program for you. Your therapy may include lifestyle changes, medications and/or surgery. In most cases of heart failure, we refer patients to our heart transplant program. (Click here to see our outcomes/success rates for our heart transplant patients.) If we recommend a heart procedure, your treatment may include: 

Lifestyle changes that can help to control heart failure include: 

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet 
  • Reducing sodium (salt) intake 
  • Avoiding alcohol 
  • Quitting smoking 

Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Learn more about our heart health resources. 

Contact Us 

Request an appointment online. Or, for more information, please call: 

  • 336-716-WAKE or 
  • 888-716-WAKE (toll-free)

 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

Local 336-716-WAKE
Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

Vascular 336-716-4151
Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 07-21-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.