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Heart Function

Ongoing support and monitoring for patients

Heart Function

About the service

Our team of specialist nurses provide assessment, ongoing support and monitoring for patients with Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction (LVSD) which means the heart is not functioning at full capacity. This includes a self-management plan to promote recovery and independence. We also offer specialist support and advice to other healthcare professionals.

What is Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction?

The common term used to describe Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction (LVSD) is 'heart failure'. This is a set of symptoms which occur when your heart doesn't pump as much blood and oxygen around your body as it should. The heart is a powerful muscle which usually pumps the blood around the body via a regular pumping action but there are many potential reasons why the heart function may be impaired, these will be discussed eith you by your doctor or nurse.

How does my doctor know if I need heart function support?

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

  • Shortness of breath when you are resting or doing normal activities
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen
  • Tiredness and fatigue

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?

This service is for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction (LVSD).

If you are a healthcare professional and need to refer a patient to the Heart Function service, please contact the service at nscp.heartfunction@nhs.net for more information.

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Contact us

Heart Function 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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