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Heart Failure

Ongoing support and monitoring for patients.

Heart Failure

About the service

Our team of specialist nurses ensure all patients with heart failure are assessed and provided with ongoing support and monitoring. This includes a self-management plan. We also offer specialist support and advice to other healthcare professionals.

What is Heart Failure?

'Heart failure' is the term we use to describe a set of symptoms that occur when your heart doesn't pump as much blood and oxygen around your body as it should. The heart is a powerful muscle that normally pumps the blood around the body via a regular pumping action. There are many potential reasons why the heart fails to pump sufficient blood; these will be discussed with you by your doctor or nurse. 

How does my doctor know I’ve got heart failure?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and carry out a physical examination. The most common symptoms of heart failure are:

  • Shortness of breath when you are resting or doing normal activities
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen (stomach area)
  • Fatigue (which means being unusually tired and weak)

These symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, so in most cases further tests will be needed to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure. The most common tests are:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess your heart rhythm
  • A BNP test - a blood test which measures the levels of certain hormones related to heart failure
  • A chest x-ray, which shows a picture of your heart and lungs
  • An echocardiogram, which allows doctors to see how the valves, muscle and pumping action of your heart are working
  • General blood tests - to check, for example, how well your kidneys are working
  • Lung function tests to see how well your lungs are working.
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Who is this service for?

Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction; a type of heart failure.

If you are a healthcare professional and wish to refer a patient to the Heart Failure Service, please visit our New Referrals page

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Contact us

Heart Failure Service Pill Health Centre 3 Station Road Pill North Somerset BS20 0AB

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Case studies

Mrs T, 67 years old

Mrs T was admitted to hospital for emergency cardiac surgery and subsequently spent 65 days in intensive care. She was ventilated for a large portion of time but also had a tracheotomy.

Mrs T has a long history of anxiety and panic attacks; she had received support from Mental Health services in the past and managed her symptoms well prior to this admission.

At home she was very weak and unable to perform normal activities. She required a full package of support from the community team and required specific equipment.

We were asked to support Mrs T due to deterioration in her condition. We provided diuretic therapy which reduced her hugely swollen legs and aided mobility, as well as helping her breathlessness. Through medication her heart rate was controlled.

Over the next few days we were able to withdraw the continuous oxygen, enabled Mrs T to sit in a ‘normal chair' and sleep in a ‘normal’ bed. Mrs T went out for the first time in months and was able to visit the GP surgery instead of having a home visit.

Mrs T now attends our clinic and her GP practice. She is so motivated to perform daily weights, fluid control and dietary changes, and is delighted with her newfound health.

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