Heart Failure Diagnosis and Treatment
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Heart failure is a scary and daunting diagnosis that requires the highest quality of care in order to achieve favorable outcomes.
Here, our heart failure program offers specialized treatments and an unparalleled depth of expertise.
Our physicians are also on the front lines of developing and participating in the latest clinical trials, giving patients access to treatments not available elsewhere.
Diagnosing Heart FailureToggle accordion item
We begin the diagnosis by taking your medical history and performing a careful physical examination. We will then order tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests and scans can show us an enlargement of the heart or decreased heart functioning. It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis from a heart team with expertise and experience in treating heart failure patients. The more accurate your diagnosis, the more effective your treatment can be.
Heart Failure TreatmentsToggle accordion item
After confirming your diagnosis, we will create an individualized care plan for you. Our heart failure team takes the time to get to know you, so we can plan a course of treatment that meets your specific needs and situation. We offer the full spectrum treatment options for heart failure, from medication to heart transplantation.
- Lifestyle modifications can keep heart failure from getting worse. This includes a balanced, low-sodium diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.
- Medications to treat heart failure can have a number of goals: lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of fluid in the body, improve circulation, slow the heart rate and prevent irregular heartbeats. We will plan a medication regimen for you to follow and monitor you closely to ensure you feel a relief of symptoms.
- The Infusion Clinic helps ease fluid buildup in heart failure patients. An alternative to hospitalization, the clinic removes fluids that build up in the legs, stomach or lungs. To reach the Infusion Clinical, call 410-328-8669.
- Devices to treat heart failure include pacemakers to help pace the heart and intracardiac defibrillators (ICDs) that shock the heart back to its regular rhythm. Learn more about ICDs and Pacemakers.
- Heart failure surgery includes:
- Pacemakers or Defibrillators: pacemakers to help pace the heart and defibrillators (ICDs) that shock the heart back to its regular rhythm. Learn more about ICDs and Pacemakers.
- Coronary bypass surgery: CABG procedures help to restore blood flow. To learn more about coronary artery disease program.
- Mitral valve surgery: You may need surgery to repair or replace your heart’s mitral valve. Learn more about mitral valve repair and replacement.
- Heart transplant: We may recommend a heart transplant for patients with advanced heart failure who continue to have severe symptoms despite maximal medical therapy. Learn more about our Heart & Lung Transplant Program.
- VAD program: Ventricular assist devices help patients who are waiting for a new heart. We are innovating new VAD techniques such as a minimally invasive implantation procedure and a new VAD for use in children. Learn more about VADs.
Advanced Heart Failure TreatmentsToggle accordion item
After a thorough medical history, physical exam, and clear diagnosis, our team works to create an individualized plan to control heart failure symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. We offer the full spectrum treatment options for heart failure, including:
Some of our advanced techniques include:
- Telemonitoring: Through a demonstration grant from Medicare, our physicians are testing whether home monitoring of heart failure is successful in preventing hospitalizations and improving quality of life. We give patients home monitoring units, such as scales and blood pressure cuffs. Patients send the results sent directly to a server at the University of Maryland.
- Genomics: Our researchers are investigating how migrating adult stem cells have the potential to target damaged areas of the heart and create homes. These cells could then take over the function of the damaged muscle.
- Sleep monitoring: Many patients with heart failure also experience sleep disturbances. Maryland Heart Center physicians monitor and evaluate patients in the University of Maryland Sleep Center and make recommendations for appropriate treatment to minimize these disturbances.
- Mechanical circulatory support devices (ventricular assist devices): University of Maryland Heart Center physicians have extensive experience placing and managing left ventricular and bi-ventricular assist devices. Learn more about ventricular assist devices (VAD).
- ACORN CorCap: University of Maryland physicians are evaluating the ACORN CorCap, a mesh bag placed over an enlarged heart. The mesh prevents the heart from enlarging, improves the heart's function and may help the heart revert toward normal function. The ACORN is not for people who are going to need a transplant; its purpose is to keep them from needing one.