Heart Failure Treatment
Our specialists provide the most advanced, effective heart failure treatment available, tailored to your needs.
If you have heart failure, you’ll need a team of doctors with the expertise and special training to treat your disease. Our program features a large team of specialists, each with unique experience in all the different aspects of heart failure care. We provide the most advanced and effective heart failure treatment available, including for severe cases.
Personalized treatment plans
Working together, we develop customized treatment plans that meet your individual needs and preferences. During development of your heart failure treatment plan and throughout your care, you will meet many members of our team. Here is what to expect:
- Dedicated heart failure nursing: Our heart failure nurse coordinators help manage your care and testing. They provide education on medications and diet, “when to call” and laboratory monitoring. They are available by phone for both emergencies and non-urgent issues. You’re encouraged to call with changes in weight and heart failure signs and symptoms, to help prevent admission to the hospital. This also results in an overall better quality of life.
- 24-7 heart failure physician coverage: Our expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons meet with you to perform a comprehensive exam and explain your treatment options. Our physicians provide around the clock, comprehensive coverage to consult on complex issues. When necessary, they also assist with transfers if your heart failure progresses and you need additional care.
- Diagnosis and treatment of complex, related conditions: Our advanced heart failure specialists also have special expertise with related conditions such as cardiomyopathies, sarcoidosis and amyloidosis. Given that these conditions can sometimes be inherited, we may recommend genetic testing for you and your family. We will discuss the risks and benefits of testing in detail.
Evaluation and testing
We use many tests to diagnose and monitor the progression of your heart failure. You may have already had one or more of these tests, so we work closely with all referring cardiologists to get as much information about your condition as possible. Our goal is to conduct additional testing only if it is absolutely necessary. This testing may include:
- Blood tests: To examine problems that might make your heart failure worse.
- Echocardiogram: Using sound waves, we produce high-resolution images of your heart and valves.
- Imaging tests: Examine how well your heart pumps blood and how much damage there may be to your organs and tissues.
- Cardiopulmonary (metabolic) stress testing: Measures the performance of your heart and lungs while you are exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle.
- Cardiac MRI: Uses radiation-free technology to obtain very detailed pictures of your heart. This can help identify rare causes of heart failure.
- Right heart catheterization: Looks at how well your heart is pumping. This procedure can also measure pressure in your heart and lungs. We perform this test in our cardiac cath lab.
We conduct cardiovascular testing in dedicated labs where sophisticated equipment and specially trained doctors and technologists come together to provide fast and accurate heart function tests. Learn more about expert diagnosis available in our cardiovascular testing labs.
Many people with heart failure can get better without surgery. Using medication management, we prescribe one or more medications based on your unique needs. These medications:
- Help your heart muscle pump better
- Keep your blood from clotting
- Lower your cholesterol levels
- Open up blood vessels or slow your heart rate so your heart doesn't have to work so hard
- Reduce damage to your heart
- Reduce your risk of abnormal heart rhythms
- Rid your body of excess fluid and salt (sodium)
Our team’s pharmacists, doctors and nurses work together to make sure you are getting the right medications in the right doses. You may need to come back for frequent follow-up visits at the beginning of your program so we can monitor your progress and adjust your medication regimen and treatment plan, if necessary.
If lifestyle changes and medications aren’t working, a heart procedure may improve how well your heart functions and prevent further damage. Henry Ford cardiology and cardiac surgery specialists perform a range of nonsurgical procedures as well as many forms of heart surgery. Some common heart procedures include:
- Pacemaker or defibrillator: Implantable devices to help control an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Invasive hemodynamic monitoring: By implanting a small device through a nonsurgical procedure, we can detect changes in the pressures of blood through the pulmonary artery (which can indicate worsening heart failure even before you notice symptoms). Once implanted, our dedicated nursing support team monitors your blood pressure values several times a week. Our management system is designed to both reduce the risk of readmission and ensure correct dosage on medication therapies.
- Coronary angioplasty and stenting: Using a catheter (thin, spaghetti-like tube) with balloon tip, we open narrow or blocked arteries near your heart and implant a stent (like a scaffold) to keep the vessel open.
- Coronary bypass surgery (CABG): Using one of your own blood vessels, we reroute blood around a blocked artery.
- Heart valve surgery: We repair or replace your heart’s valves so that blood can move freely through your heart chambers. Learn more about structural heart disease treatments.
Advanced heart failure treatment
If you have been diagnosed with advanced heart failure, your therapy options include:
- Mechanical circulatory support (MCS): Henry Ford is a Joint Commission Approved Center of Excellence for MCS. We are a large volume center with outcomes that are superior to the national average. Most commonly we implant durable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), a type of heart pump.
- Heart transplant: If your heart failure is so severe that no other form of treatment is helping, you may need a heart transplant. Our experience in this area goes back to 1985 when we performed the first heart transplant in Detroit.
Our active participation in research and clinical trials means that we are able to offer the best available device treatments for advanced heart failure.