Systolic Heart Failure | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Systolic Heart Failure

What Is Systolic Heart Failure?

Systolic heart failure refers to a weakened or enlarged left ventricle — the heart chamber that sends oxygen-rich blood out to the rest of the body. The muscle isn’t pumping as forcefully as it should. The body isn’t getting enough oxygen while blood and other fluids back up in the body.

A clinical measure of systolic heart failure is reduced ejection fraction. Ejection fraction refers to how much blood the left ventricle pumps out. A normal ejection fraction is more than 55%. With systolic heart failure, the left ventricle’s ejection fraction is lower.

High blood pressure (systolic is the top number) can slowly cause the heart muscle walls to thin so they do not pump well.

More patients with systolic 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 advanced treatments for systolic heart failure.

Systolic Heart Failure Symptoms

Acute systolic heart failure describes symptoms that come on suddenly. Chronic systolic heart failure symptoms develop gradually over time.

The outward symptoms of systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure are the same. Symptoms can include:

  • Brain fog — difficulty concentrating or staying alert
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and lack of appetite
  • Persistent cough, wheezing
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Shortness of breath either while lying down or active
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles, possibly with sudden weight gain

Systolic Heart Failure Treatment

Every case of systolic heart failure is unique and complex. The specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan aimed at relieving symptoms and slowing the disease’s progress.

With expertise and leading-edge treatments, we’ll plot a course to help restore your quality of life.

Systolic heart failure treatment through the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program includes lifestyle and dietary changes, medication to control blood pressure and heart rate, and diuretics to reduce fluid retention.

Patients with systolic heart failure often have coronary artery disease as well, and our cardiologists may recommend surgery or minimally invasive procedures to remove built-up plaque in the blood vessels.

Our full-time nurse navigator meets with patients to provide details of their condition, answer any questions and review dietary adjustments, physical therapy and other changes to slow the progress of systolic heart failure.

The nurse navigator will arrange for home health services, acute rehabilitation services and other assistance for patients so they can be successful managing their disease at home and reduce the need for hospital stays.

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

Beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are options to treat the hypertension that comes with systolic heart failure. Medication may be used to reduce congestion in the lungs. We’ve seen certain hydra-nitrate medications provide significant benefits in African American patients with persistent symptoms.

Cardioverter defibrillators are used to detect dangerous changes in heart rhythm and deliver a shock to the heart to reset the beat. These devices often are implanted, and we offer a wearable defibrillator (LifeVest) as an option for many.

Because subtle changes in systolic heart failure can signal need for new or adjusted treatments, some patients may have a tiny monitor installed in a blood vessel to detect changes in blood flow. The device, called CardioMEMS, sends data wirelessly to the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program. The device allows providers to evaluate the patient’s condition immediately without a trip to the doctor’s office.

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 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 after a heart attack, living with a heart condition or 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.

Classes and Events

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers classes about once a week on a broad range of heart health topics including cooking classes, atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and heart failure education workshops, and more.

Norton Healthcare Heart and Vascular Institute

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists treat more people for heart and vascular conditions — about 250,000 every year — than any other provider in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals are American College of Cardiology accredited Cycle VI Chest Pain Centers — the highest level of expertise to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
  • 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 surgeryelectrophysiologyadvanced heart failure and vascular surgery.
  • We offer same-day new patient appointments.
  • We have 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 clinical sites in the region.
  • We have the experience, expertise and easy access you’d expect from the largest cardiovascular care provider in Kentucky.
  • 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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