|Institute will be Research Center for Causes and Prevention of Heart Failure and Sudden Cardiac Death|
By Dr. Philip Adamson, Medical Director – Heart Failure Institute at Oklahoma Heart Hospital
The primary goal of the Heart Failure Institute at Oklahoma Heart Hospital is to take the treatment of congestive heart failure from an end stage disease process with virtually no hope of recovery to a proactive program of medications, devices and surgery designed to return the patient’s heart back to normal. The disease management systems our team has developed and is now deploying at OHH have demonstrated dramatic recovery rates with heart failure patients – to the point that ‘cure’ rates are now being discussed. When you consider the fact that heart failure was once considered a hopeless disease – this is great news for Oklahoma.
Congestive heart failure is typically a menacing disease that causes a steady decline in the pumping ability of the heart muscle causing the walls of the heart to enlarge. This makes the heart work much harder and causes fluid to build up in the lungs, liver, abdomen and lower extremities. The heart can become so weak that it fails to pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. Congestive heart failure is most commonly caused by damage to the heart muscles from heart attacks due to heart vessel blockages and high blood pressure. Other causes also occur such as heart valve damage from infection or irregular heart beats.
Just 30 years ago, the hope for survival in patients with heart failure was dismal and centered on heart transplantation as the ultimate therapy when in fact, only 1 in 25,000 patients with heart failure would benefit from heart transplant. In the last decade, a new cardiovascular specialty has begun to emerge with the possibility of managing left ventricular dysfunction, reversing myocardial damage and prolonging life in patients who before were given no realistic hope for survival.
Subsequently therapies for patients with chronic heart failure have evolved rapidly , medical and device therapies are now available that reduce symptoms, reverse the progress of left ventricular dysfunction and importantly, improve long-term survival without the need for heart transplantation.
Device technology has rapidly risen to the forefront of available tools to treat patients with heart failure. Recent technological advances are giving us devices intended to prevent sudden cardiac death, including implantable cardioverter-defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization devices and biventricular pacemakers that are helping correct the electrical malfunctions of the heart. Other technology allows us to remotely access physiological data acquired from permanently implanted devices via simple phone lines and the Internet to more efficiently and effectively manage patients’ heart failure syndrome. This approach gives us meaningful information about the patient’s status while allowing the patient to remain at home.
Specialized treatment centers, like the Heart Failure Institute at Oklahoma Heart Hospital, are successful because we deploy a multidisciplinary team of providers including heart failure specialists, electrophysiology and pacing specialists, nurses trained in heart failure management to frequently evaluate patients and adjust their long-term medical therapies.
We have learned that the key component to this team approach is frequent follow-up visits with our patients. Patients will see us a minimum of once every three months and more often as symptoms dictate. Frequent follow-up and organized