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Heart Failure Clinic

Heart Failure (HF) and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) are both serious illnesses and yet many people are not aware that they may be afflicted. When left unmanaged, HF and CHF can be debilitating and impact the quality and longevity of one's life. Early recognition and diagnosis, along with a patient's understanding of their condition is the recommended approach to managing heart failure.

Heart Failure and Congestive Heart Failure are quickly becoming two of the most pressing health problems facing our communities. At the McLaren Greater Lansing Heart Failure Clinic, our team of highly experienced physicians, Advance Practice Nurses, (APN's) and other medical professionals are dedicated to working with individual patients throughout their life's journey by helping them understand and manage the symptoms of their type of heart failure diagnosis. Our healthcare professionals understand the associated anxieties patients experience when faced with the diagnosis of heart disease.

Our purpose is to educate patients and their families about this condition, the purpose of medications, the impact of certain diets and foods and the importance of monitored physical activity. Our primary goal is to improve the patient's condition and avoid repeated hospitalization

Heart Failure Education at McLaren Greater Lansing

2727 S. Pennsylvania, Suite W 1014
401 W. Greenlawn
Lansing, MI  48910 (517) 975-2220

Heart Failure Education
Heart Failure Infusion Center

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.

hear failure
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
"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."

Click here for Angiotensin Receptor Blocker medications...

Click here for ACE Inhibitor medications....

Click here for Beta-Blocker medications...

Click here for Diuretic medications...

Click here for medications to control High Blood Pressure...

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.

TLiving a Quality Life with Heart Failure Education

McLaren Greater Lansing is one of few in the region that offers: an education class, newsletter, support group and Heart Failure Center. This supportive network of services can empower heart failure patients to lead lives with meaning and quality. 

The education class covers winning strategies for living with heart failure. Among the topics: Lifestyle adjustments, counseling on reducing sodium and fluids, exercise, smoking cessation, and recognizing and overcoming barriers to help your heart adjust to a slower pace. More than 98 patients completed the Heart Failure Center Education Program in 2007.

"As needed," says Sylvia Hedin, Manager, "we monitor lab values with medical adjustments to correct abnormal lab values. Our patients often have co-morbidities, like diabetes, and it's important to reinforce no more than eight cups of fluid each day, including meals. One of the hardest things patients must give up is sodium. Heart failure patients are restricted to no more than 2,000 mg. of sodium per day. Patients are surprised to learn that just one teaspoon of salt contains 2,200 mg. of salt.

Classes are held every other Monday, from 1-2:30 p.m., led by Sylvia Hedin, R.N. Participants meet in the McLaren Greater Lansing Orthopedic Hospital admitting lobby. Pre-registration is requested, but not required. This FREE service is open to all patients, families and friends. Call (517) 975-2220 for specific dates.

A supportive newsletter is mailed every other month. Information on heart failure includes: a low sodium recipe, question and answer column, heart failure websites, books and an educational article. Call (517) 975-2220 if you would like to receive this free newsletter.

The Support Group meets every other month on the first Wednesday of: February, April, June, August, October, and December from 6-7:30 p.m. The meetings are held in Suite 30 of the Professional Building, 405 W. Greenlawn. Guest speakers share their expertise on topics of heart failure. This free service is informal. Call (517) 975-2220 for directions or questions.

McLaren Greater Lansing's Heart Failure Center has been operating since 1998. The Heart Failure Center is under the Medical Direction of cardiologist, Michael James, D.O. Patients with unstable heart failure may receive IV diuretics, monitoring of labs, up-titration of medications, and intensive heart failure education. The center is located on the Orthopedic Hospital Campus, 2727 S. Pennsylvania. Ste. 1014.

Physician referral is needed. Call (517) 975-2220 to make a patient referral.

"The Center's most important goal is," says Hedin, "is to provide sufficient knowledge about heart failure, so patients can make wise decisions at home and stay out of the hospital."

The Infusion Center

Staffed by registered nurses and an advance practice nurse, infusion serves are offered for the following:

Venous Access Device (VAD) Care: infusaports, PICCs, Hickman and Groshong
Hydration therapy
Antibiotic Therapy
Steroid therapy
Subcutaneous injections
Iron therapy
Blood product administration
Central venous line access and management
Enzyme therapies*
Remicade therapy*
Immunoglobulin (IVIG)*
Outpatient blood draw from VAD ports
(* Pre-authorization for these services may be necessary).

Services not offered:

Chemotherapeutic therapy
Parenteral nutrition
Conscious sedation
Intravenous pain management
All therapies are initiated and continued by physician order, and are provided under the direction and supervision of the ordering physician. Medical Director Michael James, D.O., provides program supervision.

Physician Referrals: Call Infusion Services at (517) 975-2220 with referral information - patient's name, birth date, diagnosis, treatment, and VAD, if applicable. First time patient referrals also require demographic and insurance information.

The Infusion Center is located just adjacent to the Heart Failure Center.

McLaren Greater Lansing Heart Failure/Infusion Center
2727 S. Pennsylvania, Suite W 1014
Lansing, MI 48910
(517) 975-2220

Understanding Heart Failure

According to the American Heart Association, heart failure affects nearly six million Americans. Mistakenly, many people believe that heart failure means that the heart has stopped or is about to stop"beating". Heart failure is a progressive condition which occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to the body's organs and tissues. With too little blood being delivered, these tissues and body organs do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly over a period of time.

The most common causes of heart failure include:

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Narrowing of the heart's arteries (coronary artery disease)

Other common contributors which may lead to heart failure include heart valve disease, viral infections, alcohol/drug abuse, and severe lung disease.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

Heart Failure symptoms can vary widely from person to person depending on varying conditions and medical factors. The onset of heart failure may go unnoticed for many, but as the disease progresses symptoms described are likely to become more severe and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Lack of appetite, nausea
  • Swelling of legs and abdomen
  • Weight gain

About Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a type of heart failure which differs in symptoms.

As blood flows out of the heart slows down, the blood that returns to the heart through the veins is backed up, thus causing congestion in the tissues of the body. Usually, this swelling happens in the limbs of the body but can occur elsewhere in the body as well.

On occasion, fluid can build up in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe or causing general shortness of breath, primarily when lying down. This is referred to as pulmonary edema, and if left untreated, can lead to potentially fatal respiratory distress.

Another issue related to congestive heart failure is the effect on the ability of the kidneys to dispose of excess sodium and water from the body.