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Heart Failure Clinic

Heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has “failed.” It means your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should. When this happens, your body doesn’t receive the oxygen-rich blood it needs. You may feel fatigued and short of breath, even after doing a simple activity. 

At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we earned the distinction of being the first accredited system for heart failure in the Northwest. In addition, our outpatient program stretches across the entire Virginia Mason Franciscan Health network and includes resources to help you successfully manage heart failure.

Heart failure treatment

The Heart Failure Clinic at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s Center for Cardiovascular Health is an integrated program whose mission is to diagnose and treat heart failure in a comprehensive and cutting-edge manner. A team of cardiologists, electrophysiologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, pharmacists and a dietitian are specially trained to manage the most complex aspects of heart failure treatment.

Our services include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation of heart function
  • Attention to diagnosis and treatment of underlying coronary artery disease
  • Evaluation and treatment of valvular heart disease in heart failure
  • Assessment of lung function and consideration of sleep apnea syndromes
  • Extensive patient and family teaching about medications, diet, activity, warning signs and treatment options
  • Long-term risk-reduction strategies focusing on lifestyle modification (e.g., exercise, diet, weight loss, tobacco cessation and self-monitoring)
  • Introduction and management of appropriate drug and pacemaker therapy for heart failure
  • Continuous, supportive and regular follow-up appointments to maintain heart health

Diagnosing heart failure

Accurate diagnosis is the first important step in a treatment plan. We’ll ask about your symptoms, discuss your personal and family heart history, perform a physical examination and listen to your heart. We’ll most likely recommend further diagnostic tests to better determine if you have heart failure, which may include:

  • Blood tests: We check your cholesterol levels and assess how your liver, kidneys and thyroid glands are functioning.
  • Echocardiogram: This test evaluates how well your heart pumps blood.
  • Chest X-ray: An X-ray provides detailed images of the structure of your heart muscle.
  • Exercise stress test: This shows how your blood flows when you’re exercising or placing stress on your heart.