New Congestive Heart Failure Clinic Helps People Better Manage Complex Disease

Lanham, MD – Doctors Community Hospital opened a Congestive Heart Failure Clinic in February. With heart failure being among the top contributors of people being readmitted into hospitals, this clinic will help insured and uninsured people who have heart disease better understand and manage this complex condition.

Heart failure impacts the lives of more than five million Americans with the rates forecasted to double during the next 30 years. Also, many people who have heart disease experience various challenges managing it, which increases their likelihood of experiencing health crises that often require them to frequently need costly emergency care. According to Dr. Vikram Raya, on-staff cardiologist, “Many hospitals are caring for a substantial number of emergency department patients who have difficulties managing their heart disease. From not recognizing the importance of monitoring their water intake to not being able to decipher food labels to measure salt consumption, these patients need a resource focused on helping them manage this disease. That’s why our Congestive Heart Failure Clinic is so important.”

Doctors Community Hospital’s Congestive Heart Failure Clinic is a comprehensive program that provides:

  • A holistic care approach that includes the collaborative services of pharmacy, nutrition, physical therapy, cardiology, physician assistant, social work, home health and hospice care professionals – all accessible on Doctors Community Hospital’s campus
  • Consultations for insured and uninsured patients who have physician referrals
  • An experienced and board-certified cardiologist

As a healthcare partner, the clinic’s team collaborates with referring, primary care and cardiology physicians to keep them informed of their patients’ progress. Also, after completing a four-session treatment program, a detailed report is sent electronically to referring physicians who will continue to care for their patients.

Paula Bruening, chief nursing officer, states “Our hospital’s mission is to passionately care for the health of our patients. This program will help us equip people with the skills, resources and education they need to make well-educated and life-enriching healthcare decisions. Providing the community with services that address these types of specific medical needs is part of the hospital’s proud tradition.”

About Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. Also, it can occur when people have very stiff hearts that can lead to fluids building up in the lungs and legs. Although the heart still beats, a weakened or very stiff heart doesn’t pump enough blood, which is rich with oxygen and nutrients needed by the entire body. As a result, walking, carrying groceries or even climbing stairs can be difficult or cause shortness of breath.

The most common causes of heart failure include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Past heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart defects from birth
  • Diabetes
  • Severe anemia
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Severe lung disease

An episode of congestive heart failure can be brought on by eating too much salt, not taking prescribed medications correctly, high blood pressure, not getting enough rest/exercise or drinking large amounts of liquids. Therefore, medicine, diet, daily activities, exercise, lifestyle, health habits and family support are all important parts of heart failure management.