Health Chat Series-Living with Heart Failure

Posted Oct 14, 2016 | Posted in Health & Wellness, News & Events

In continuation of our Health Chats seasonal speaker series, Dr. Eric Janis, a cardiologist at NC Heart & Vascular, recently presented on the topic of heart failure and how new technology is helping control this. The presentation being held in Smithfield, brought out numerous individuals looking to learn more about what heart failure is and what new devices are being used by doctors to help manage this problem which affects more than 5 million people.

What is  Heart Failure?

heart-failure-typesHeart Failure is often referred to as a disease, however it is actually a clinical syndrome. It occurs when the muscles of the heart have slowly weakened and enlarged, preventing the heart from pumping enough blood throughout the body.

There are two types of heart failure

  • Systolic Heart Failure– where the chamber walls of the heart are stretched out and cannot pump blood out to the body
  • Diastolic Heart Failure– where the chamber walls of the heart are stiff and thick preventing them from filling up with blood

Although it sounds like a terminal illness it is very common, and leads up to 1 million hospitalizations per  year and cost a yearly average of 21 billion dollars.

What are the causes of Heart Failure?

  • Hypertension
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption
  • Medications
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid complications
  • Tachycardia
  • Valve Disease

What are the symptoms of Heart Failure?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Bronchitis that won’t go away/Chronic cough
  • Swelling in legs or belly
  • Fatigue

What are the treatment options for Heart Failure?

  • Pacemaker/ Defibrillator
  • Exercise/Weight Control
  • Blood Pressure Control
  • Medications such as ACE/ARB, Beta blockers, Aldosterone blockers, Bidil, Digoxin
  • Implantable Cardiac Devices

New Technology

During his presentation, Dr. Janis discussed in detail how a couple new devices can significantly help patients with heart failure better manage their condition.

icdImplantable Cardiac Device (ICD)
The Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD) works similarly to a pacemaker, however when it notices that the heart is not pumping properly it delivers a shock which resets the heart’s rhythm. The ICD is a battery powered device which is placed under the skin, one to two wires connect to your heart and monitor its heart beat rhythm.


The CardioMEMS™ device, which is the size of a dime, is inserted into the pulmonary artery and transmits daily readings of the pressure level in that artery, which could indicate a worsening of heart failure. The surgery to implant this device is simple and can be a same day procedure.

The readings are simply transmitted by laying on a monitoring pillow and your provider receives email alerts with the information.

This revolutionary technology can help patients not only better manage their condition but also reduce their risk of hospitalizations and even death due to heart failure. Speak with your doctor today to see if this new device is right for you.

The Health Chat speaker series is a FREE community event where we invite experts to come and speak to the community about various health topics. Usually held in both Smithfield and Clayton, these presentations are made to inform our community about specific diseases and prevention, tips and tricks to staying health, and hot topics in the medical world. Health Chats are always free and serve light refreshments. We hope you’ll join us for the next one.

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