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Heart Failure

Baystate Medical Center offers a successful Heart Failure Management Program, which helps to empower heart failure patients to manage their health and improve their quality of life. The services offered by the Heart Failure Program include:

  • Assessment and diagnosis by a cardiologist who specializes in heart failure management
  • Medical treatment based on national guidelines and current research
  • Disease management strategies focusing on patient and family education, nutritional counseling
  • Telephone triage
  • Access to urgent visits
  • Collaboration with the visiting nurse and hospice teams
  • Participation in current research trials

What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease, a heart attack, high blood pressure, lung disease, valve disease, rheumatic fever, structural heart defects at birth, infection of the heart muscle or heart valve(s), alcohol or drug abuse, diabetes, or abnormal heart rhythms. For most people, heart failure is not curable, but through medications, diet, and exercise plans, you can help control the symptoms and the progression of the disease. There are three kinds of heart failure:

  • Systolic Dysfunction - The heart muscle becomes weak and unable to pump blood throughout the body
  • Diastolic Dysfunction - The heart cannot relax properly to fill with blood
  • Both Dysfunctions are present

Medical Management

  • Medications
  • Diet Changes
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Risk Factor Reduction
  • Activity/Exercise
  • Ultrafiltration

Surgical - Advance Therapies

Biventricular Pacing/Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

A biventricular pacemaker may be included as part of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator or as a separate device. It is a small device similar to a regular pacemaker. It is implanted under the skin of your upper chest, and helps correct and restore your heart’s rhythm.

Implantable defibrillator

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic, battery-powered device that is surgically placed beneath your skin. Wires are inserted through the veins, positioned in your heart, and then connected to the ICD. This allows information to travel between your heart and the ICD, and helps the ICD monitor your heart rhythm problem. If your heart beats too slowly, an electrical impulse stimulates your heartbeat. A specific type of ICD, known as CRT-D, may also be necessary to help coordinate the pumping action of the heart muscles. This treatment is called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).

Heart Transplantation/Left Ventricular Assist Device

Patients with advanced heart failure who have not responded to standard treatment may be referred for heart transplantation. Patients may also be considered for advanced therapy with a ventricular assist device (VAD). This is a mechanical pump device that helps a weak heart pump blood through the body. This may be an option for patients with end stage heart failure. A VAD may used as a “bridge-to-transplant,” which means it is used temporarily until heart transplantation can be performed, or it may be considered as an alternative to heart transplant.


This therapy involves removing blood from your body and passing it through a special filter. The filter removes the excess fluid from your blood. The filtered blood is returned to you.