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Heart Failure

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs. The heart keeps pumping, but not as efficiently as a healthy heart. Usually, the loss in the heart's pumping action is a symptom of an underlying heart problem. Heart failure affects nearly 5 million US adults. It is on the rise with an estimated 400,000 to 700,000 new cases each year.

At Crouse Hospital, we offer a full range of interventional and diagnostic cardiac care services. Our use of evidence-based treatment guidelines promotes consistency of care and positive patient outcomes. On a monthly basis, a special team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, cardiac rehab nurses, quality improvement staff, and emergency response personnel meets to review the care of our heart failure patients and identify opportunities for improvement.

The charts below demonstrate how Crouse Hospital compares with other providers in the treatment of heart failure.

July '10 - June '11

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Why is this important?
Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Before you leave the hospital, the staff should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home. The information should include your

  • Activity level (what you can and can’t do)
  • Diet (what you should, and shouldn’t eat or drink)
  • Medications
  • Follow-up appointment
  • Watching your daily weight
  • What to do if your symptoms get worse

July '10 - June '11

Why is this important?
The proper treatment for heart failure depends on what area of your heart is affected. An important test is to check how your heart is pumping, called an “evaluation of the left ventricular systolic function.” It can tell your health care provider whether the left side of your heart is pumping properly. Other ways to check on how your heart is pumping include:

  • Your medical history
  • A physical examination
  • Listening to your heart sounds
  • Other tests as ordered by a physician (like an ECG, chest X-ray, blood work or echocardiogram)

July '10 - June '11

Why is this important?
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with heart failure and are particularly beneficial in those patients with heart failure and decreased function of the left side of the heart. Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have heart failure symptoms or decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by limiting the effects of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, and may thus lower blood pressure and reduce the work the heart has to perform. Since the ways in which these two kinds of drugs work are different, your doctor will decide which drug is most appropriate for you. If you have a heart attack and/or heart failure, you should get a prescription for ACE inhibitors or ARBs if you have decreased heart function before you leave the hospital.

July '10 - June '11

Why is this important?
Smoking increases your risk for developing blood clots and heart disease, which can result in a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Smoking causes your blood vessels to thicken. Fat and plaque then stick to the wall of your blood vessels, which makes it harder for blood to flow. Reduced blood flow to your heart may result in chest pain, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. Smoking is linked to lung disease and cancer, and can cause premature death. It is important for your health that you get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital.

The rates displayed in these graphs are from data reported for discharges July 2010 through June 2011 (unless otherwise noted). For more current information about Crouse Hospital’s progress in this area, contact our Quality Improvement Department.


CQ - Crouse Quality

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