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Heart Failure

Heart failure is one of the most common conditions in the United States and is characterized by the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands.

Physicians at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center have a special interest in managing patients with heart failure at all stages. In addition, we have novel research and clinical programs to help improve the care of heart failure patients and advance the field. We are creating innovative models of care delivery to improve the quality of life of our patients and slow the progression of heart failure. For patients with more severe disease, we work to provide them advanced heart failure therapies such as mechanical heart pumps and heart transplantation through the Johns Hopkins Heart Transplant Program.

Building on a tradition established in 1983, our team of specialists uses a comprehensive medical approach that includes intensive education and lifestyle modification, to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

Services Provided

In collaboration with Johns Hopkins Hospital, our patients receive all facets of clinical care for heart failure.

After an initial evaluation, you may be asked to undergo one or more of the following tests:

  • Echocardiogram
    Uses ultrasound waves to image the heart’s structure and movement. This allows your doctor to determine what your ejection fraction is and to look at the function of your heart valves and heart muscle.
  • Electrocardiogram
    Also called an ECG or EKG, this test records your heart's electrical activity during rest to determine abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Stress testing
    Helps determine if blockages in the coronary arteries are affecting the blood flow to your heart and contributing to heart failure.
  • Left heart catheterization
    Determines if you have any blockages in your heart and helps to evaluate the pressures in the heart. This test involves inserting a thin plastic tube through a blood vessel until it reaches the heart; injecting a dye into the blood vessels; and taking X-rays to assess the heart’s structure and function.
  • Right heart catheterization
    This evaluates the pressures in your heart and lungs and measures the amount of blood flowing through your body. Your doctor may change therapies or take more fluid off of you based on the results of this test.
  • Metabolic stress test
    This is an exercise test that measures the amount of oxygen you consume during exercise (also called peak VO2). It allows your doctor to determine how limited your heart makes you and if you would benefit from a heart transplant.
  • X-ray
    Helps physicians to see if the heart is enlarged and if the lungs contain fluid.
  • Biopsy
    A small sample of the heart muscle or tissue may be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis. This helps determine the cause and extent of disease.
  • Sleep Study
    This helps physicians determine if you have sleep apnea, a condition that commonly occurs with heart failure.

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