We have a highly skilled team who can provide a wide range of services from diagnosis to treatment.
Advanced heart failure is when traditional therapies and symptom management to treat heart failure are no longer working. You may feel shortness of breath and other cardiac symptoms even at rest.
The symptoms of advanced heart failure are similar to those of heart failure in an earlier stage. They include:
At the advanced stage, patients often have severe symptoms, poor quality of life, and a low survival rate. Medical treatments may not even be tolerated. However, improvements in technology and better disease management have improved the lives of many advanced heart failure patients.
Advanced heart failure is when people with heart failure have heart problems that won't go away, even when treated.
Common signs of advanced heart failure include:
In this advanced stage, chances of dying increase with each hospitalization. The presence of repeated, planned, or unplanned hospitalizations, especially for intensive care, can point to advanced heart failure.
As your heart failure gets worse, you may develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or fatigue even when you're sitting.
Limits in physical activity typically include not being able to walk short distances like a city block, or perform everyday activities like bathing or dressing.
Causes of advanced heart failure can include:
Progression to advanced heart failure may be gradual, and it is often difficult to pinpoint an isolated incident that caused the decline. Patients may start to have less physical activity, need more trips to the hospital, or have heart rhythm complications. Advanced heart failure may make patients more likely to develop other medical problems as well.
Typical tests for advanced heart failure include:
At the advanced heart failure stage, quality of life may become the priority.
Your wishes might change depending on your overall health and chance of recovery. Here are some end-of-life treatment options that your doctor can tell you more about:
However, having advanced heart failure doesn’t mean you’ve run out of therapeutic treatment options. In fact, there are an increasing number of therapies and state-of-the-art technologies to improve your quality of life.
Ask your doctor what health decisions you may have to make in the future. Think about your preferences and document them in an advance directive, which can be updated as your wishes change.
For example, you may want to consider palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to help improve quality of life by relieving your symptoms. This is not the same as hospice, which is the care you receive when you decide to end therapeutic treatment.
Palliative care can provide:
When quality of life becomes your priority, it may be time to end treatments. Hospice care is often provided in the home by a team that includes a doctor, nurse, therapist, social worker, and other professionals. Hospice services may include:
Making plans for how you want to spend your remaining life can be tough. But difficult discussions now can simplify difficult decisions later.
Presbyterian’s Heart and Vascular team has many different options to help you manage your heart condition. The team performs various diagnostic tests and procedures to help form an accurate diagnosis and create individualized treatment plans for your heart health needs. Depending on the type of heart condition you have and its underlying cause, the team can recommend a wide variety of treatment options, including lifestyle modifications, medications, and procedures. Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons work closely together for cases in which surgery is the best treatment option. We also offer a customized cardiac rehabilitation program at our Healthplex, where clinically appropriate, which can improve your endurance and exercise tolerance, as well as improve heart-related symptoms. Your cardiologist will work with the rehabilitation team to create a plan that will be tailored to your individual health needs.