The most common symptoms are breathlessness, tiredness and fluid retention leading to ankle swelling. Heart failure is a serious condition and requires specialist input. As there are other causes of breathlessness, it is very important to make the correct diagnosis.
A number of tests can be used to help diagnose heart failure. There are a number of causes of heart failure including high blood pressure, narrowing of the heart arteries, a heart attack, heart muscle weakness (cardiomyopathy), a heart rhythm disturbance or heart valve disease. You will need some basic blood tests, an ECG and an echocardiogram to make the diagnosis and delineate the underlying cause. In many cases it will be necessary to perform further tests.
Heart failure is usually a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment. Treatment is a combination of lifestyle measures and medication. In some cases, the underlying cause may require surgery, for example, if the underlying cause is related to a heart valve problem. Treatment for heart failure can be effective and can help the heart become stronger, improve symptoms, reduce the risk of a flare-up and allows people with the condition to live longer.
Lifestyle changes are important and include stopping smoking, keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight at a healthy level and exercising regularly. Medication can help strengthen the heart muscle leading to an improvement in symptoms and prognosis.
Selected patients may be suitable to receive advanced cardiac device therapy in the form of an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) which can help strengthen the heart muscle.
This monitoring measures blood pressure during your usual activities. [READ MORE]
This is a biodegradable device that can be used like a coronary stent. [READ MORE]
CRT is advanced device therapy aimed to improve the function of the heart in patients with heart failure. [READ MORE]
This scan is used to ascertain the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 5-10 years. [READ MORE]
An ‘echo’ is an ultrasound scan of the heart to assess structure and function. [READ MORE]
These scans enable cardiologists to view detailed images of the heart’s anatomy. [READ MORE]
This is an artificial device that is implanted in the chest to regulate an abnormal heartbeat. [READ MORE]
This is a procedure that uses ‘echo’ and ECG to assess how the heart’s blood vessels are working using either exercise or a drug to increase the heart rate. [READ MORE]
TAVI inserts the replacement valve in a minimally invasive manner, avoiding the need for open heart surgery. [READ MORE]