2727 S. Pennsylvania, Suite W 1014
401 W. Greenlawn
Lansing, MI 48910
Heart Failure Center keeps patients stable, out of hospital Heart failure patients can feel like they’re balancing on a “slippery slope.” Richard, a Heart Failure patient, has had two serious heart attacks, leaving muscle damage and scarring. Until coming to the Heart Failure Center, he was in and out of the hospital, with fluid build-up, swelling, and difficulty breathing. It was a marathon to walk 10 feet.
Eleanor’s heart failure came on slowly, the result of diabetes, high blood pressure, and pulmonary disease from 30 years of smoking. She was on oxygen therapy, and was too tired to exercise. Her heart was losing its ability to pump efficiently. She held out hope the Heart Failure Center could help.
McLaren Greater Lansing’s Heart Failure Center holds classes every other week to help patients understand the nature of their condition, and what measures can be taken to improve their quality of life. Patients also come in for intravenous infusion of medications to manage the heart’s ability to function more efficiently in pumping blood through the body.
A Heart Failure Support Group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of every other month. The first meeting in 2006 will be Feb. 1. A heart failure newsletter is sent every other month to more than 350 patients in mid-Michigan.
“Heart failure,” says nurse practitioner Carol Wank, RN, BSN, MSN, “does not mean the heart has stopped or failed. Heart failure means the heart muscle is unable to relax, or the heart muscle is weak and its pumping ability is poor.” Because the heart muscle is overworked, several conditions can arise:
- The heart enlarges to allow a higher work level.
- The heart walls thicken to prime the pumping ability.
- The heart races (tachycardia), attempting to keep up.
- The heart muscles don’t contract in tandem (left ventricular hypokinesis)
- The kidneys begin retaining salt and water to make up for lack of blood flow. Fluid can also collect in the lower extremities, the abdomen and lungs.
Michael James, D.O., medical director, oversees each patient’s care. “Until we started this Center about five years ago, heart failure was one of the leading cause of emergency room admissions. Patients do much better when we can stabilize their symptoms, and start them on IV infusion of medications. The more a patient understands about heart failure, the better able they are to take over managing their disease. We help them learn their limitations, but to be as active as possible.”
A notebook of information awaits each Heart Failure Center patient. Among the topics discussed are:
- Types of heart failure
- Ejection fraction – the amount of blood the heart pumps out with each contraction.
- Rationale and ways to restrict sodium and fluid intake.
- Taking daily weights to control fluid status.
- Symptoms that may require immediate medical care.
- Medications used to treat heart failure and the importance of compliance.
- Balancing rest and daily exercise.
- Stress reduction, smoking cessation (if needed), vaccinations, healthy sleep.
“Our goal,” says Wank, “is to keep patients out of the hospital. They must be referred to the Center by their primary care or other physician.”
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For more information, call (517) 975-2220 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Center is located in Rm. W1014, just off the main lobby of McLaren Greater Lansing Orthopedic Hospital, 2727 S. Pennsylvania.