Congestive Heart Failure Program

The Heart & Vascular Institute's Congestive Heart Disease Center  enables patients who have been diagnosed with congestive heart disease to manage their health and improve the quality of their lives through early symptom recognition, continuity of care, diet planning and medication management.

One-on-one clinic visits or group educational programs are available where symptoms of heart failure, medications, diet and fluid restrictions are reviewed in detail with patients and their families. 

Routine follow-up telephone calls are made in order to assess progress and to help answer any questions patients may have. Personalized nutritional consultation with a registered dietician is also available to design a balanced program that meets the individual needs of each patient.

The Congestive Heart Disease Center at Hartford Hospital is among the few centers in the area to offer a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, with nursing staff and physicians working as an integrated team, strictly focusing on disease management.

Understanding Congestive Heart Failure

When the weakened heart muscle loses its ability to pump efficiently, the life-threatening condition is called congestive heart failure (CHF). For nearly 5 million aging Americans, congestive heart failure brings frightening trips to the emergency room and recurrent hospitalizations.

In the United States, 550,000 new cases of CHF are diagnosed each year. The condition usually develops gradually as the result of a heart attack, uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart defect or viral infection.

During a heart attack, a sudden clot blocks a coronary artery, sometimes damaging the oxygen-starved heart muscle permanently. When the heart can’t pump forcefully enough, blood flow drops as the heart struggles to supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain and vital organs. The chambers of the heart stretch to hold more blood, but over time, the heart muscle walls weaken and pumping slows. The kidneys respond by causing the body to retain water and sodium. Blood backs up into the veins leading to the heart, excess fluid pools in the lower legs and ankles, and the belly becomes swollen and congested. Fluid fills the lungs, causing shortness of breath, especially when lying down.

When so much fluid accumulates that diuretics (water pills) no longer work, the usual treatment is hospitalization for intravenous (IV) administration of medications. In hospitals across the country, congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for patients age 65 and over.

Our Congestive Heart Failure Program Locations: