Heart Failure

A Team Approach to Treating Heart Failure 

Heart failure—caused by a weakened heart muscle—can be difficult to treat and frightening to those who have the condition. The term heart failure can apply to a heart muscle that is weak, enlarged, and does not pump effectively. That’s why diagnosis, treatment, and management of heart failure requires the collaboration of a team of health care specialists. 

It starts with a referral from your provider. At Missouri Baptist Medical Center, we use a team approach, including primary care physicians, cardiologistselectrophysiologists (cardiologists who specialize in heart rhythm management), cardiac surgeons, and a nurse practitioner who specializes in heart failure, to review complex cases and offer the most appropriate treatment option for each patient. 

Once you are referred to our Heart Failure Center, we will develop an individualized plan of care for you to manage your disease. 

What is Heart Failure? 

Heart failure is defined as a common condition that develops slowly, caused by weakening heart muscle. This condition makes the heart have to work harder than normal in order to keep blood flowing through the body. Congestive heart failure is an advanced stage of heart failure that causes fluid to build up in the lungs, feet, legs, and in some cases the liver and the abdominal cavity.

The normal heart, left, has a healthy heart muscle that pumps blood out of the left ventricle. The right image shows heart failure, where the weakened heart muscle cannot pump enough blood. 

What are the risk factors associated with congestive heart failure? 

Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, damage to heart valves, history of heart murmur, enlargement of the heart, family history of enlarged heart, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol or drug abuse. 

What can I do? 

  • Weigh yourself daily
  • Monitor your blood pressure daily
  • Limit your intake of salt
  • Exercise at levels recommended by your physician
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed
  • Maintain frequent visits with your physician
  • Ask questions and make sure you fully understand all information
  • If you smoke, please stop. Smoking makes the symptoms of CHF much worse. 

For more information on congestive heart failure or to schedule an appointment at the Heart Failure Center, call us at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

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