Congestive Heart Failure
If you have heart failure, your heart is not strong enough to pump blood effectively to the rest of your body. As your heart struggles to work harder, it may become enlarged. You may feel shortness of breath and feel tired when you exert yourself. NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital offers monitoring, treatment, and follow-up care for inpatients and outpatients with all stages of heart failure—from those with mild symptoms to others in need of advanced care. Ours is one of the few hospitals in Brooklyn offering a dedicated program for people with congestive heart failure.
A Team Approach
We bring together all of the providers needed for your care, including cardiologists, heart surgeons, interventional cardiologists, nurses and nurse practitioners, social workers, nutritionists, and others with experience and compassion treating people with heart failure. We personalize your treatment, offering diagnostic testing and medications to support your heart's function, and if needed, surgery, device implantation, or referral to NewYork-Presbyterian’s ventricular assist device (VAD) and heart transplant programs. Whatever you need to manage your heart failure, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist’s specialists are here, in your community, to help.
Assessing Your Needs
Whether you are a hospital inpatient or visiting our outpatient Heart Failure Clinic, our team assesses your heart health using the latest technologies and determines the best course of care for you. We treat patients with heart failure stemming from a variety of causes, including ischemic heart disease and genetic and viral cardiomyopathies, as well as patients with co-existing pulmonary hypertension.
An Accurate Diagnosis
To diagnose the cause of your symptoms, we offer echocardiography (an ultrasound exam of your heart), cardiac catheterization, cardiac CT scanning, and cardiac MRI. All of these technologies are available at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist.
Medical Management Of Heart Failure
The Heart Failure team makes sure that patients are taking the correct types and dosages of medications needed to prevent the disease from progressing, keep them out of the hospital, and reduce the risk of death. Our team also encourages and guides lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise) to manage your disease better. Patients with more advanced heart failure—including those who may be waiting for a transplant or implantation of a VAD—may receive infusion therapies through a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). We implant the PICC line in the hospital and attach it to a small portable pump that regularly supplies intravenous infusion of “inotropic” medications such as dobutamine and milrinone. These drugs increase the force of your heart’s contractions and help it to pump more effectively, reducing your symptoms and making it easier to accomplish your daily activities. NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist’s heart failure specialists closely monitor your care as you receive this home infusion therapy.
Non-Medical Management Of Heart Failure
If your heart failure gets worse despite medical treatment, you will need a more effective form of therapy. NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist offers several interventional and surgical approaches to help your heart pump more effectively, including:
- Valve surgery or coronary artery bypass surgery, if this is needed to control your symptoms and improve your heart health.
- Implantation of defibrillators and biventricular pacemakers to improve heart function and quality of life, prevent life-threatening heart rhythm problems, and reduce the risk of death.
- The Impella Ventricular Support System for patients with heart failure who are critically ill in the hospital. This device draws blood out of the heart and pumps it into body, thereby helping blood circulate through the body. It is implanted through a small incision in the groin. It can also be implanted through a small incision in the chest.
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for patients with heart failure who are critically ill in the hospital. This device helps pump blood through the body when the heart is too weak to do so and also adds oxygen to the blood. Our hospital is one of the few in Brooklyn offering ECMO. Learn more about ECMO at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist.
- Ventricular assist device therapy and heart transplantation If you need a VAD or heart transplant, your team can perform all of your pre-procedure tests and post-operative follow-up care at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist. You would have the actual operation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center (for VADs) or NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Irving Medical Center (heart transplantation and VADs). Your team helps coordinate all of your care. Learn more about these treatments.
NewYork-Presbyterian is developing a program to reduce the number of return emergency room visits and hospital readmissions among people with heart failure released from the hospital. All of our hospitals, including NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist, have created standardized approaches to caring for people with acute decompensated heart failure—the onset of symptoms such as shortness of breath or swelling of the feet severe enough to require a trip to the doctor or emergency department or admission to the hospital. Members of our heart failure team regularly contact our patients with heart failure to help them adhere to their prescribed self-care regimen, such as taking their medications, following a healthy diet, being physically active, and monitoring their weight regularly. You can even have telemedicine consultations, enabling you to share information by secure online video chat with a doctor and nurse practitioner.
Clinical Trial Opportunities
NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist participates in a number of clinical trials evaluating new therapies for congestive heart failure, including industry-sponsored studies and those supported by the National Institutes of Health. You may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of an innovative heart failure treatment, enabling you to receive it before it is commercially available.