Expert care when heart failure progress
Advanced heart failure is a form of heart failure that has progressed to the most serious stage. It gets worse over time. There are four main stages, based on a patient’s risks and symptoms. Patients who have advanced heart failure are in the most severe stage of the disease.
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Though the disease is serious, there is hope for patients. Our Advanced Heart Failure Program team provides early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. No other team in the mid-Atlantic region matches our quality of care or patient outcomes. In 1988, MedStar Washington Hospital Center became one of the first four hospitals to implant a ventricular assist device to help a weakened heart beat better, and our heart transplant team was the first in our region in 1987.
Symptoms of advanced heart failure
The symptoms are similar to those of heart failure in an earlier stage. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia
- Swelling in the legs, feet or abdomen
- Weight loss without diet or exercise changes
These symptoms may be worse or better from day to day or even at different times of the day. The main difference from less-advanced heart failure is that these symptoms may appear with ordinary activity or even during rest.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Carotid duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to your brain.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
In a heart biopsy, your doctor will remove small samples of your heart muscle tissue to monitor heart function or diagnose a problem.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.
We offer a wide spectrum of treatments for patients with advanced heart failure. These include ventricular assist devices, as well as heart transplants. Along the way, patients have access to palliative care to relieve symptoms and stress.
Treatments for heart failure such as medications, surgery and mechanical devices vary based on the cause and severity of your condition.
A heart transplant replaces a diseased, failing heart with a healthier heart from a donor.
Inotropic therapy is an IV medication that can relieve symptoms of heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.
A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a mechanical circulatory support device, helps the heart pump blood more effectively during end-stage heart failure.