While the name heart failure makes it sound like the heart has stopped working entirely – and there are no remedies or treatments – this is not the case. In fact, heart failure is a surprisingly common condition, affecting as many as five million U.S. adults, with a variety of treatment options.
Put simply, heart failure means the heart is not able to pump blood as well as it should. As a result, it’s not able to meet the needs of the body and essential organs. When these cells don’t have the oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood they need, the body tries to compensate and meet the demand. In some cases, this may lead to an enlarging of the heart or a faster heart rate. However, without proper treatment and care, heart failure will only progress and worsen overtime.
Why Choose The Heart Center of NGMC?
At The Heart Center of NGMC, we are at the forefront of heart failure care with an entire program dedicated to caring every stage of the disease. Every facet of our Advanced Heart Failure Program was strategically designed to ensure the best possible health outcomes and promote a better quality of life for patients.
Our patient-centered approach to heart failure care includes an in-home telemonitoring service (CardioMEMS), an outpatient diuresis clinic and a 16-bed unit dedicated solely to supporting and caring for heart failure patients and their families. The Woody Stewart Heart Failure Unit is second to none, offering highly innovative treatment and monitoring systems, as well as a state-of-the-art education center. Learn more.
What truly sets our Advanced Heart Failure Program apart is the highly-trained care team, which includes a VAD coordinator, fellowship-trained cardiologists, advanced practitioners and nursing staff, all specializing in heart failure.
I already have a cardiologist. How does this program differ?
While general cardiologists are trained to care for the heart, the doctors in our heart failure program carry an additional board certification in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology. In fact, our heart failure program includes doctors, advanced practitioners, nurses and navigators, all of whom are specially trained in treating heart failure and offering the latest care options to improve your quality of life.
This team also participates in the latest studies and research, sometimes piloting that research in the state of Georgia, to ensure that we are on the cutting edge of new medical technology to treat heart failure patients, helping us improve your quality of life and maintain your heart health well into the future.
If I have heart failure, should I see a specialized heart failure doctor?
Yes, even if your heart condition is stable and you are not experiencing negative side effects, like swelling or fatigue, heart failure is a serious condition that may be progressing and worsening, even if your regular check ups with a primary care physician or general cardiologist are going well.
Our experienced team of board certified Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant doctors will give you access to the most advanced monitoring technologies. They are specially trained to understand the progression of heart failure and help extend the lifetime of heart failure patients.
The main message we have for heart failure patients is to not wait to establish care with a heart failure specialist until you are experiencing worsening signs of heart failure, but to be proactive to maintain your good health now.
View Patient Testimonial
After suffering from heart failure for many years and with his life hanging in the balance, it was time for David to make a life-altering decision and seek specialty care for his heart failure at The Heart Center of NGMC. Watch his story:
Heart Failure Conditions We Treat
At The Heart Center of NGMC, we treat all types and stages of heart failure.
Oftentimes, heart failure is thought of as one condition, but there are technically several different types. These different types correspond to the part of the heart impacted by disease (e.g., right-sided and left-sided). Left-sided heart failure is the common as this where the majority of pumping power comes from.
Congestive Heart Failure
While this term may used interchangeably with heart failure, this is technically a more urgent form of the disease. This occurs when blood flow is backed up and slowed to the point of congestion and swelling in the body’s tissue. Oftentimes, this swelling affects the legs and ankles. Congestive heart failure can also cause fluid build-up in the lungs, known as pulmonary edema.
Vascular & Structural Heart Diseases
Heart failure is often the result of another underlying condition, like heart valve diseases or coronary artery disease. When these other conditions are left untreated, they may cause permanent damage and eventually cause heart failure. Addressing these other, underlying conditions is often an important part of heart failure care.
Heart Failure Services
The Advanced Heart Failure Program offers a variety of effective and customizable treatments to help manage the disease and improve quality of life. While there is no known cure for heart failure, there are a range of different options that may be taken alone or in combination to address and improve heart function.
In addition to the resources and inpatient services offered through The Woody Stewart Heart Failure Unit, we offer:
Ventricle Assist Device (VAD)
For patients whose hearts are severely weakened or damaged, a ventricular assist device can help the heart pump enough blood. Once surgically implanted, a VAD provides partial or complete support for the heart and the circulation of blood. Our VAD Coordinator will collaborate with a team of experts to assess the ability and need a patient has for a VAD. Learn more.
Conveniently located at our Gainesville and Braselton campuses, the diuresis clinic provides a safe and effective method for heart failure patients to have excessive fluid removed when it reaches a critical or urgent level.
This technology is used to help monitor heart failure patients when they’re at home or self-monitoring. With an implanted device, a patient’s vitals are taken daily and transmitted directly to their heart failure cardiologist. This ensures their care needs are up to date and continually adjusting to be as effective as possible.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
In the event that a patient with heart failure also has an irregular heartbeat, your heart failure cardiologist may suggest an ICD to keep your rhythm within a safe range. An ICD can be set to work only when your heart needs them to, or all the time, pacing your heartbeat. Not all heart failure patients require one of these devices.
In the event that you need additional or more advanced care options, your heart failure team will collaborate with the highly-experienced cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons through Northeast Georgia Physicians Group. With decades of experience, our surgeons can perform a variety of procedures, including valve repairs and replacements, as well as coronary artery bypass grafting.
"I had been in and out of the hospital for months coping with heart failure, and that’s when I met Dr. Egolum. I remember that day so clearly because I had never met anyone like him. He was so well-versed in heart failure care and he took the time to truly listen and connect with me as a person.”