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Congestive Heart Failure

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New Approach for OSA in Heart Failure Patients

Heart Failure
OSU Medical Center vs. National Average

OSU Medical Center*
National Average*

This chart represents the percentage of patients who received all of the recommended care based on their medical condition and individual needs.
* Click here for details about this statistic.

Congestive heart failure, also called heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body’s other organs. Heart failure affects approximately five million adults in the United States.

The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, weight gain, swelling of the lower extremities and fatigue. Many conditions that cause heart failure result in irreversible damage and, in some cases, may necessitate a heart transplant.

Why Choose The Ohio State University Medical Center?

The Ohio State University Medical Center has the largest heart failure program in central Ohio; we are the only Center performing implantation of artificial heart pumps and heart transplantation. We completed our first heart transplant in 1986 and have the only adult cardiac transplant center in central Ohio. Our team of researchers was among the first in the nation to evaluate the use of cyclosporine, a drug that suppresses the immune system and dramatically improves the success of organ transplantation.

Ohio State gained prominence by becoming the fourth institution in the country certified to implant the temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart, which serves as a bridge to transplant for the most critically ill patients. We also offer one of the largest Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) programs in the country.

Our heart failure team is comprised of:

  • Heart failure cardiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Nursing coordinators
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Social workers
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Pharmacists

Ohio State's Medical Center has a long-standing reputation as a magnet for nationally recognized leaders in cardiovascular medicine.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure is usually a sign of an underlying heart problem. In addition to affecting the heart’s pumping efficiency, it interferes with normal kidney function. When the kidneys cannot properly eliminate sodium and waste from the body, the body retains excess fluid.

The severity of the condition and the symptoms you experience depend on how much of the heart’s pumping capacity has been lost.

What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure can be caused by:

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Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

Tests to diagnose congestive heart failure include:

Chest X-ray – A radiograph or picture of the heart and lungs including blood vessels, ribs and bones of the spine.

Echocardiogram (also called echo) – This test uses sound waves to assess the function and structure of the heart muscle and valves.

Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) – A test that records the electrical activity of the heart.

BNP testing (B-type natriuretic peptide) – This test detects a hormone released from the ventricles in response to increased wall tension that occurs with heart failure.

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Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

Treatment of congestive heart failure depends on the cause of the disease.


Medications to treat congestive heart failure include:

  • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilators
  • Antiarrhythmic medications
  • Beta-blockers
  • Aldosterone blockers

Other medications can be prescribed to increase heart strength, control rhythm problems and increase the pumping action.

Surgery and Procedures

Surgery and procedures to treat congestive heart failure include:

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Ohio State Medical Center Physicians Who Treat This Condition

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