Left-sided Heart Failure

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What Is Left-sided Heart Failure

Left-sided heart failure, the most common type of heart failure, happens when the left ventricle isn’t moving enough blood out to the body. If the left ventricle is having trouble filling with blood between beats, it’s called diastolic heart failure. When the left ventricle can’t pump blood out as well as it should, it’s called systolic heart failure.

Like other forms of heart failure, left-sided heart failure can progress through four stages. The stages range from no symptoms and no heart damage, but requiring lifestyle adjustments and possibly medication, through advanced heart failure that may require the most sophisticated treatment options such as an implanted left ventricular assist device and heart transplant.

At the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure & Recovery Program, our goal is to slow the progress of heart failure so you can resume living your life. Our specialists will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that’s customized to your condition and your goals.

More patients with left-sided heart failure and other heart conditions entrust their care to Norton Heart & Vascular Institute than any other provider in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists and other specialists in the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program are at the leading edge of sophisticated treatments.

Left-sided Heart Failure Vs. Right-sided Heart Failure

Right-sided heart failure is less common and is usually the result of left-sided heart failure. The right side of your heart pumps blood returning from your body through the lungs where it is replenished with oxygen.

If the left side of your heart isn’t effectively moving blood along, it makes the right side work harder as blood and other fluids back up into your lungs and other organs.

Left-sided Heart Failure Symptoms

The symptoms of left-sided heart failure are the generally the same for heart failure broadly and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Weight gain with swelling in the feet, legs, ankles
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen
  • Fatigue or a general feeling of weakness

Left-sided Heart Failure Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of your heart failure and whether the condition is diastolic or systolic.

The experienced specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program have the expertise and leading-edge treatments to control left-sided heart failure and slow progress of the disease.

We work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your condition and goals.

We start by working with you on dietary changes and other lifestyle adjustments such as physical activity, stress reduction, and reducing use of alcohol and other drugs. We often have success with lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication. Our full-time nurse navigator meets with patients to provide details of their condition, answer any questions and review dietary, physical therapy and other changes to slow the progress of left-sided heart failure.

The Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program’s full-time social worker helps patients with insurance, housing and other needs. Free heart failure education workshops are designed to provide tools, resources and a more in-depth education on how to live fully with heart failure.

More severe left-sided heart failure patients may need implanted devices such as a pacemaker or a cardioverter-defibrillator (either implanted or wearable) to help control abnormal heart rhythms such as arrhythmia. Your Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program provider may use a sophisticated remote device to monitor your blood flow or amount of water retention daily for subtle changes that can signal a worsening condition.

Targeting the cause of your left-sided heart failure may involve minimally invasive procedures such as ablations that carefully destroy small parts of diseased heart to restore blood flow or interrupt abnormal heart rhythms.

If your left-sided heart failure is complicated by thickened muscle between the two ventricles, surgery may be needed to remove part of the muscle to improve blood flow through the heart.

Our surgeons have experience and sophisticated training with ventricular assist devices if necessary as either a long-term solution or a short-term bridge to a heart transplant.

The Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program offers a new approach to the management of heart failure using the latest in treatment options and monitoring technology. Our goal is to avoid putting you in the hospital. When you need care, we’ll try to get you home the same day. We have locations on the campuses of Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Brownsboro Hospital as well as in Downtown Louisville to treat left-sided heart failure.

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

Every year, more than 137,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville all have received Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This is the seventh consecutive accreditation for all four hospitals, which ensures quality for the treatment of heart attack.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital all are recognized as having ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation.
  • Norton Healthcare has the most facilities across the city of Louisville with the ability treat a life-threatening heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 100 physicians and advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 28 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Hospitals ranked Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville as high performing in heart attack, heart failure, aortic valve surgery and heart bypass surgery.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital earned ventricular assist device (VAD) accreditation from DNV – Healthcare and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free Norton MyChart account.

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