Heart Failure

Overview

What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, occurs when a person’s heart is not able to pump blood the way it should. As a result, the body doesn’t get enough blood – and the oxygen that blood cells carry – to maintain the body and its normal functions.

Heart failure affects nearly 6 million people in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. It is one of the most common reasons people over age 65 go to the hospital.

World-Class Care

World-Class Heart Failure Care

Aurora Health Care is known as Wisconsin’s leader in cardiovascular care. U.S. News & World Report ranks us as high-performing for heart failure care.

We offer every available heart failure treatment. We’re also developing new ways to identify and manage the condition, from prevention through advanced heart failure care.

When you choose us, you and your family will benefit from:

  • Outstanding quality: The American Heart Association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll has recognized us for outstanding quality of heart failure care. Read more about our accomplishments.
  • Integrated, team approach: All of our cardiac care providers work closely together. Coordinated care is especially important for chronic conditions like heart failure, because you will benefit from consistent care over time. Meet our cardiovascular and thoracic team.
  • Convenient locations: You can expect to receive quality cardiac care at the Aurora Health Care location that works best for you. If you need to receive treatment at more than one Aurora location, we will make sure the transfer of your medical records and care happens seamlessly. Learn more about our locations.
  • Innovation and research: Aurora is a leading center for clinical trials and research. Find out more about our clinical trials and cardiovascular research.

Read more about the Donald and Rosemary Tendick, Sr., Clinic for Advanced Heart Failure Therapies.

Risk Factors

What Causes Heart Failure?

The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease (CAD). In this condition, arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged or blocked with a hard buildup called plaque.

Other risk factors and causes of heart failure include:

Anyone can develop heart failure, but it is more likely in people who are male, over 65, diabetic, overweight or obese.

Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure

To compensate for poorer performance, a failing heart may get bigger, develop extra muscle mass or pump faster. These changes weaken the heart over time, and the person’s health gradually worsens.

As heart failure advances, signs may include:

  • Shortness of breath when resting, especially when lying down
  • Coughing or wheezing when lying down or exercising
  • Dizziness or fainting (syncope)
  • Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea, loss of appetite or a feeling that your stomach is full
  • Swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in your neck
  • Weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Confusion or “fuzzy” thinking

We offer every available treatment for heart failure, and we believe that the best approach is to avoid or minimize heart failure. That’s why we help people and their doctors identify heart failure risks and diagnose and treat heart failure at an early stage.

Learn more about heart failure diagnosis and treatment.

A community problem

The Heart of the Matter
Listen as Dr. Nasir Sulemanjee describes the signs and symptoms of heart failure, as well as its prevalence.

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