Diagnosis & Treatment of Heart Failure
Diagnosing Heart Failure
Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms, perform a physical examination, and order tests such as blood tests, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram, stress test, and cardiac MRI.
Treating Heart Failure
Medications & Exercise for Heart Failure
Doctors often prescribe medication to help improve how well the heart pumps blood. Heart failure medications are designed to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and fluid build-up and improve blood flow. Regular exercise can also improve your heart function and reduce symptoms, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. Speak with your doctor about the types of medication and exercise that may be best for you.
Defibrillators & Pacemakers
We offer implanted devices to manage heart rhythm problems associated with heart failure for people whose symptoms are not well controlled by medication or exercise.
- Pacemakers — a small device implanted under the skin in the chest used to ensure the heart beats at an appropriate rate.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) — small devices, similar to pacemakers, implanted under the skin (most often in the chest) and used to protect against life-threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
- Biventricular pacing — implantable devices with wires directly pacing the left ventricle of the heart in addition to a standard pacemaker wire in the right ventricle.
Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs)
NewYork-Presbyterian has pioneered mechanical support for people with advanced heart failure. Left ventricular assist devices take on the workload of the left ventricle, helping your heart pump blood to the rest of your body. An LVAD has three main parts: an electric pump implanted inside your body and attached to your heart, an electronic control system worn outside your body and connected to the pump, and a power supply. Our surgeons have one of the largest LVAD volumes nationwide, with survival rates exceeding the national average.
If you have end-stage heart failure that does not respond to other treatments, you may be a candidate for a heart transplant. Doctors in our Heart Failure and Transplantation Program are making continuous advances in medical and immunologic therapies, surgical techniques, imaging methods, and device development. The heart transplant team at NewYork-Presbyterian expanded the usual criteria by which donor hearts are accepted. As a result, waiting times for a heart transplant are lower here than at other centers in the region. The ability to transplant sooner translates into better outcomes for our patients.