Heart Failure Treatments | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Heart Failure Management and Treatment

Sophisticated Heart Failure Treatment Close to Home

The Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program is revolutionizing heart failure treatment for patients in Kentucky, Louisville and Southern Indiana. The program helps patients recover heart function and recover their lives. We use leading-edge technology to help recovery with as few nights in the hospital as possible.

Heart failure progresses through four stages. The specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program have the experience and the expertise to slow the progress of your disease and sometimes help hearts regain strength. For most people, heart failure treatment requires a balance of the right medications, a low-sodium diet and fluid restrictions that can help ease symptoms.

What Is the Treatment for Heart Failure?

Your heart failure treatment will continue for the rest of your life — a longer-term prospect than in the past. Medication, close monitoring and a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can manage the disease. The earlier you start treatment, the better your chance of controlling symptoms, preventing further damage to your heart and regaining heart function.

Your treatment starts with a precise diagnosis to determine how well your heart is pumping blood through your body. Blood tests, stress tests, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and a coronary angiogram are some of the tests our specialists will use to determine the severity, cause and effects of your heart failure.

Rebuilding your heart muscle may be an option through the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Myocardial Recovery Program using evidence-based medication choices, close remote monitoring and a holistic approach to lifestyle modification to promote the best possible environment for heart recovery.

Severe cases of heart failure may require surgical repair and mechanical circulatory support — a pump that helps your heart move oxygen-rich blood out to your body. A surgically implanted ventricular assist device can provide long-term relief or serve as a short-term solution while you wait for a heart transplant.

Preventing Heart Damage With Active Monitoring

Your heart will work to recover. Part of our job is to give your heart room to heal by preventing additional damage. We use a number of remote monitoring technologies to alert your cardiologist of any changes in your heart’s function that can further weaken it.

  • CardioMEMS HF System. This permanently implanted device transmits data from your heart when you lie on a special pillow a couple times per week. If the readings are outside of set parameters, it alerts the team at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program.
  • LifeVest. Patients newly diagnosed with systolic heart failure and at risk of sudden cardiac death may wear this cardioverter defibrillator. Worn directly against the skin, the lightweight LifeVest detects any life-threatening, rapid rhythm, and shocks the heart back into a normal beat.
  • ReDS System. This is a vest you’ll put on at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program office. The vest painlessly measures lung fluid in as little as 45 seconds. Excess lung fluid can be a sign of decreased heart function.

Heart Failure Medications

Heart failure can be treated with a combination of medications. Common heart failure medications include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These widen blood vessels to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and decrease workload on the heart. Examples are enalapril, lisinopril and captopril.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). These have the same benefits as an ACE inhibitor, and may be an alternative for people who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors. Examples are losartan and valsartan.
  • Cardiac glycosides. These increase the strength of heart muscle contractions. They can slow the heartbeat and may reduce heart failure symptoms. An example is digoxin.
  • Combination neprilysin inhibitor/ARB. This is used with other heart failure therapies, in place of an ACE inhibitor or ARB alone, to reduce strain on the heart, improve blood flow and aid in removal of fluid. An example is sacubitril/valsartan (Entresto).
  • Beta blockers. These drugs slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. They reduce the signs and symptoms of heart failure and improve heart function. Examples are carvedilol and metoprolol.
  • Diuretics. Sometimes called water pills, these drugs increase urination and help keep fluid from collecting in the body. This also decreases fluid in the lungs, helping make breathing easier. Some diuretics make the body lose potassium, so you may need to take a potassium supplement. Examples are bumetanide (Bumex), furosemide (Lasix) and torsemide.
  • Aldosterone antagonists. These diuretics do not cause potassium loss and have additional properties that help the heart work better. They may reverse scarring of the heart and help individuals with severe heart disease live longer. Examples are spironolactone and eplerenone.
  • Inotropes. These intravenous medications work by increasing the heart’s strength and the force of blood pumping through the body. They also widen blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. Examples are milrinone and dobutamine.

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

About 250,000 people a year in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute to treat their heart and vascular conditions. That’s more than any other provider in the area.

  • All four of Norton Healthcare’s adult acute-care hospitals are accredited by the American College of Cardiology’s Accreditation Services as Chest Pain Centers, with the highest accreditation level possible for facilities able to treat heart attacks.
  • We have more than 50 board-certified cardiovascular physicians and 35 advanced practice providers. Through training and years of experience, they specialize in areas such as cardiologyinterventional cardiologycardiothoracic surgerythoracic surgery, electrophysiologyadvanced heart failureand vascular surgery.
  • We offer same-day appointments for new patients.
  • We have 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 clinical sites in the region.
  • Norton Healthcare has four adult-service cardiac catheterization labs, with 14 state-of-the-art rooms. Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital have received the highest level of cardiac catheterization accreditation from the American College of Cardiology — offering lifesaving, minimally invasive procedures for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Our cardiothoracic surgeons and electrophysiologists have more experience than any provider in the area performing hybrid ablation for atrial fibrillation (A-fib). This innovative treatment also can help patients who have had persistent A-fib for more than a year that hasn’t responded to other treatments.
  • Norton Healthcare is the only health care system in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Mission: Lifeline Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association for being an innovator in creating a system of care for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks — the most severe type of heart attack.
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