A heart failure diagnosis can bring a lot of changes to your life. At the Penn Heart Failure Program, we’re committed to helping you manage those changes so you feel well and stay out of the hospital.
We’ll help you understand heart failure and how to reduce symptoms and feel your best. We’ll teach you the warning signs that indicate you should seek medical help. And we’re always here to answer any questions you and your loved ones might have.
Understanding Heart Failure Warning Signs
Part of living with heart failure is understanding the warning signs of a serious problem. Our physicians and nurses will educate you and your loved ones about what to watch out for and help you feel prepared.
Remote Monitoring for Heart Failure
Penn heart failure specialists are experts at using special implanted and wearable devices to monitor your heart remotely. These devices can help us detect problems early — sometimes before you even notice symptoms — and prevent hospitalization. Through clinical trials, the Penn Heart Failure Team is researching additional remote monitoring devices that detect early signs of worsening heart failure.
CardioMEMS™ HF System
The CardioMEMS is a tiny device—about the size of a paper clip. Your doctor places it in the pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure in a lab. CardioMEMS wirelessly transmits daily readings to our team through a home monitoring unit. CardioMEMS can detect elevation in pulmonary artery pressure, one of the earliest signs of fluid accumulation. A heart failure specialist reviews this data and contacts you to adjust your medication before symptoms occur.
Personalized Exercise for Heart Failure
Exercise is good for most people with heart failure. It can make your heart and lungs stronger and may reduce symptoms. But knowing what kind of exercise is best for you can be tricky.
At Penn, you have teams of physicians, nurses and cardiac rehabilitation therapists on your side. We can design a personalized exercise plan based on your overall health, test results and any limitations you may have. We’ll help you find the right balance between activity and rest and improve your strength and endurance.
Learn more about cardiac rehab at Penn and the Penn Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program.
Support for Living With Heart Failure
Throughout your journey with heart failure, we offer comprehensive support for all aspects of your life. Our team can help you make treatment decisions and implement lifestyle changes to feel your best:
- Smoking cessation: Smoking is especially dangerous for people with heart failure. Penn’s Smoking Cessation Program can help you quit successfully and reduce your risk of heart attack.
- Nutrition guidance: Sodium can lead to swelling and aggravate heart failure symptoms. Our nutritionists and nurses will help you learn how to read nutrition labels correctly and limit salt intake. We can also teach you what to eat, what to avoid and how to lose weight and improve cholesterol.
- Mental health: Anxiety and depression are common in patients with chronic illness. Our physicians can refer you for medical treatment that is safe for your heart and help connect you to counseling.
- Palliative care: The Penn Heart Failure Program palliative care program’s goal is to help you live well and with dignity, and to involve your loved ones in your care plan. Palliative care specialists help patients at all stages of heart failure make informed decisions about pain and symptom management. They also make sure your treatments are meeting your goals, as well as provide emotional support. Learn more about palliative care at Penn.
- Sleep testing and interventions: Many patients with heart conditions also have sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. The heart failure team often collaborates with the experts at Penn Sleep Medicine to manage sleep disorders that impact your heart.
- Social workers: The Penn Heart Failure Program has its own team of social workers. They can help heart failure patients and their families connect with resources and programs that offer support.