The Medical Center of Aurora offers a new and extensive program dedicated to patients suffering from heart failure.

Our heart failure specialists take the time to create an individualized treatment plan for every patient who has experienced heart failure or is dealing with a chronic heart condition.

Patients receive significant one-on-one time with our heart specialists, who are committed to doing everything we can to improve your health. 

What is Heart Failure?

The term “heart failure” may sound like the heart is no longer working and that there is nothing that can be done. But heart failure actually means the heart is not pumping as well as it should.   

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is not able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. The body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the cells. With heart failure, the heart is unable to pump as effectively as a normal heart, which can result in a variety of symptoms including fatigue, increased swelling of the legs, feet and ankles, sudden weight gain, and shortness of breath.    

Although there is no cure for heart failure, many people with heart failure are able to lead a full and enjoyable life when the condition is well managed through therapies such as medication, lifestyle changes, and other innovative and technologically advanced medical procedures.    

Common Conditions That Can Lead to Heart Failure

  • Severe anemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Heart muscle disease (dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, myocarditis)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Severe lung disease

Extending Heart Failure Treatment Beyond Heart Transplant

The Heart Failure Program at the Medical Center of Aurora utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to provide patients with individualized care and treatment options. Dr. Richard Jantz is a cardiac specialist at the Medical Center of Aurora and board-certified in both internal medicine and cardiology. According to Dr. Jantz, many patients respond to optimized medical management, seeing an improvement in both their symptoms and heart function. 

“Heart transplant is the best option for patients who have severe systolic heart failure that has not responded to optimized medical management,” says Dr. Jantz. “Unfortunately, there are only 3,000 to 3,500 heart transplants in the U.S. every year.”

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), approximately 3,200 heart transplants occurred in the U.S. in 2016. The number of people waiting for a heart transplant currently exceeds the number of available heart donors.

Dr. Jantz says that treatment for heart failure has improved significantly in the last few decades, and that in some cases, a patient “doesn’t need a new heart, they just need better care.”

Many patients respond to aggressive evaluation and treatment of coronary and valvular heart disease – some of which is available without open heart surgery. In addition, newer options for end-stage heart muscle dysfunction exist, including the placement of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). 

Specialized Care for Heart Conditions

At the Medical Center of Aurora, heart failure patients receive a specialized treatment plan tailored to their specific heart condition.

In addition to the usual care provided by a primary care physician and your heart doctor, the Medical Center of Aurora offers a dedicated Lung and Heart Health Clinic. According to Dr. Jantz, patients with a diagnosis of heart failure can benefit greatly from the focused heart failure management available in our Lung and Heart Health Clinic.

Heart patients at the Medical Center of Aurora are provided with:

  • Optimized Care — Treatment programs include both standard care and customized therapies to help patients with heart failure improve or maintain their quality of life.
  • Medication Monitoring — According to Dr. Jantz, heart failure patients require optimized medication dosing to reduce their risk of complications. Our clinic closely monitors your heart medications to achieve the best possible outcomes and slow the progression of heart failure.
  • Innovative and Technologically-Advanced Medical Procedures — There are a number of available devices and surgical procedures to treat heart failure, including implant devices, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), left ventricular assist device (LVAD), PCI (also known as angioplasty), coronary artery bypass, and valve replacement. Some heart patients may be candidates for these medical devices or surgical procedures.

Creating A Vision For Long-Term Heart Health

The Heart Failure Program at the Medical Center of Aurora provides patients with a nuanced, truly advanced approach to heart failure care, with the goal of reducing readmissions for patients with heart conditions. According to Dr. Jantz, patients who have suffered from heart failure need a more individualized treatment plan and routine follow-up care.

“Patients frequently get discharged on a regimen that has yet to be optimized,” says Dr. Jantz. “They get started on this regimen, but it’s not really optimal for long-term survival or for improving their long-term outcome.”

Our team of cardiovascular surgeons at the Medical Center of Aurora are highly focused on helping all heart patients determine the best treatment options for their condition, along with eliminating the need for readmissions and improving a patient’s long-term health and wellbeing.