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Heart failure

Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, means that your heart cannot pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the needs of your body. It is a chronic condition, so it causes your heart to become continually weaker. We have many ways to help people with heart failure.

Heart transplant is the only cure for heart failure. Other treatments can help you manage the symptoms and improve your heart function:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Edema, or swelling in your ankles, feet and legs

What you should know about heart failure:

  • Heart failure is more common in people over the age of 65. It is often caused by:
    • Coronary artery disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
  • We have several ways to diagnose heart failure and determine its severity. Tests include metabolic stress testing, heart biopsy and cardiac MRI technology to visualize the heart muscle.

Why choose Geisinger for your heart failure care?

  • Specialized experience: Heart failure can be challenging to manage. That is why we have heart failure specialists who see a range of cases every day. In addition, we have the only board-certified heart failure specialists in central or northeast Pennsylvania.
  • Comprehensive heart failure treatments: Our heart care team creates a treatment plan for each person. We provide medical therapy (medication) to help manage symptoms. For people with arrhythmia, we can treat with implantable devices, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. We also perform several types of heart surgery to help alleviate symptoms related to heart failure.
  • Access to LVAD: Left ventricular assist devices, or LVADs, can act as a bridge to transplant for people with heart failure. In some cases, people who are not eligible for heart transplantation will be a candidate for an LVAD. This is called destination therapy and is designed to improve their quality of life. We are one of the few programs in the region offering LVAD.
  • Low hospital readmission rates: We excel in keeping heart failure patients out of the hospital by careful medication management. We also have a program that can monitor you at home, as well as a team that can travel to you to help manage symptoms.

Treatment options

Heart failure is a chronic condition that requires careful management and the right treatment:

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