Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body. As the heart's pumping becomes less effective, blood may back up in other areas of the body. Fluid may build up in the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and the arms and legs causing multiple systems failure. This is called congestive heart failure (CHF).
There are three major symptoms of CHF: shortness of breath with exertion and while lying flat, swelling to the lower extremities and weight gain. Individuals experiencing symptoms should contact their primary care physician or cardiologist. A hospital admission can be prevented by addressing symptoms early.
The Congestive Heart Failure Program at St. Francis opened just over a year ago and can complement care from a cardiologist. The program is staffed with a cardiologist, a nurse practitioner and a case manager.
The program addresses proper diagnosis, education on proper diet, medications, exercise and weight measurement. Patients see the same clinicians each visit promoting a more personal relationship in the management of their disease.
Oleg Chebotarev, MD, Director of Heart Failure Services and Assistant Professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at Seton Hall University states, “Congestive heart failure is the cause of 30% of hospital admissions and 25% of hospital readmissions. We need to decrease the rate of unnecessary readmissions and provide patients with a better quality of life.” He continues, “The CHF program at St. Francis provides similar treatment options as an inpatient visit but in an outpatient setting.”
“The goal is to provide the best possible quality care for patients suffering from coronary disease,” stated Jerry Jablonowski, President/CEO of St. Francis Medical Center. He continued, “The CHF program is part of a comprehensive care plan, provided by St. Francis practitioners, designed to help people with chronic diseases have an improved quality of life and avoid multiple, unnecessary hospitalizations.”
Patients with questions about the CHF program or to make an appointment can call 609-599-5668.