Heart failure patient in hospital bed.

Advanced care for heart failure in Illinois

Cardiologists at Ascension Illinois deliver personalized care for advanced heart failure – from diagnosis and treatment to follow-up care.

Your heart deserves specialized attention and the best care. Heart specialists at Ascension Illinois specialize in diagnosing, treating and helping patients with heart failure symptoms. When your heart is unable to pump blood properly, you may experience congestive heart failure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling tired or weak, irregular heartbeat, fainting, unexplained weight gain, or swelling in the ankles and feet.

When you choose Ascension Illinois for your heart failure care, you get compassionate, personalized care. Every appointment starts with a conversation about how you are feeling, any new symptoms or concerns. Your care team will take the time to answer all your questions — big and small.  By getting to know you and working together, you get the heart care that’s right for you. 

Our heart specialists are part of an integrated, national network of doctors, sharing best practices and providing evaluation and treatment of the most routine and most advanced heart conditions. To diagnose heart failure, your doctor may recommend testing, such as:

  • Cardiac nuclear imaging
  • Echocardiogram (TTE)
  • Exercise stress testing
  • Stress echocardiograms
  • Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE)
  • 24-hour ambulatory EKG monitoring, also known as Holter monitoring

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Congestive heart failure treatments and care

Understanding your heart failure symptoms and how to manage them is important for your long-term health. Congestive heart failure is a progressive condition that can gradually worsen over time. When left untreated, congestive heart failure weakens the heart muscle and may affect the function of other organs including your lungs, liver and kidneys. Cardiovascular disease, such as narrowed or blocked coronary arteries, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AFib), a leaky heart valve, cancer treatments, and inherited conditions can cause congestive heart failure. We’re here to help. We listen to understand your health concerns. Then, we work with you to create a care plan that’s right for you.

At Ascension Illinois, our doctors provide comprehensive care for patients diagnosed with heart failure, including:

  • Diagnostic testing and imaging for congestive heart failure
  • Helpful information on healthy lifestyle including exercise and nutrition
  • Mechanical support devices
  • Medication management

Mechanical circulatory support for the heart

When you have advanced heart failure, traditional heart therapies may no longer work. As part of your care plan, your doctor may recommend mechanical circulatory support devices that temporarily or permanently perform functions of the heart. We offer multiple support devices, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VAD).

ECMO is a device that pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body so your heart and lungs can rest. Your doctor makes a small incision and inserts tubes into a large vein or artery. One tube pulls blood away from the body, and the other tube returns oxygenated blood to the body. ECMO is often used as a bridge, or way to support a person who needs a long-term therapy, such as VAD or a heart transplant.

VAD helps to temporarily or permanently pump blood throughout your body. The three types of devices are:

  • Biventricular assist device (BIVAD)
  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
  • Right ventricular assist device (RVAD)

Your surgeon makes an incision down the center of your chest. Then, the device is implanted inside the body to help one or both ventricles deliver blood to the aorta or pulmonary artery. A VAD is often used for people who are recovering from surgery, awaiting a heart transplant or unable to receive a heart transplant.

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Get a second opinion on your heart condition

Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan are right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension Illinois. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.

When you are facing a new diagnosis there’s a lot to think about. We can discuss available treatment plans including heart failure therapies and mechanical support. Our team of highly experienced heart specialists can provide you with a second opinion based on experience and as part of an integrated national network of care.
 
Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to find out if a second opinion is covered. We can request your medical records from your doctor on your behalf, so that they can be shared with your care team before your arrival.

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Ascension Illinois heart failure clinic locations

Helping you transition home from the hospital

After being discharged from the hospital, we connect you with follow-up care. Your care team will help you manage your heart condition until you are seen by your heart doctor. You will be given information on how to take care of your heart to help avoid a more serious condition. Your care team will include a pharmacist and nurse practitioner who work with you and your doctor to help you transition from the hospital to your home. 

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, go directly to the ER or call 911.

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