McLaren Greater Lansing’s Clinic Improves the Lives of Patient’s Living With Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart has trouble pumping blood well enough to meet the body’s needs. Fluid builds up in the feet, arms, legs, and organs causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and reduced ability to perform day-to-day activities that the patient was previously able to do.

At the McLaren Greater Lansing Congestive Heart Failure Clinic, the physicians and providers give individualized care to all patients to improve their outcomes and symptoms and ensure that they can live a better life.

“Often times, patients living with heart failure have an increased number of hospital visits, so our ultimate goal is to improve their quality of life, while reducing their symptoms and hospital readmissions,” said Dr. Awais Kang, cardiologist at McLaren Greater Lansing Cardiovascular Associates.

Dr. Kang said that when the clinic is able to see patients within five to seven days after discharge from the hospital, not only do readmissions rates go down significantly, but patients are also less likely to be exposed to other illnesses and diseases, such as pneumonia.

The clinic monitors each patient, sets up an individualized treatment plan (including adding any medications) and looks for any underlying health-related causes. One of the biggest symptoms heart failure patients experience is congestion, so the clinic offers various techniques for reducing the amount of fluid in the patient’s body including the use of diuretics, or water pills, and monitoring his or her weight.

“Our team works very closely with our patients; we call them and make frequent check-ins, monitor their weight to see how much fluid is in their body, and adjust their medications as needed,” said Dr. Kang. “It’s a very hands-on program.” 

McLaren Greater Lansing also introduced the CardioMEMs procedure for patients suffering from heart failure with New York Heart Association Class II or III symptoms. The CardioMEMS HF System allows providers to monitor and treat patients who suffer from heart failure before overt symptoms occur. The system features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) during a nonsurgical procedure to directly measure PA pressure. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes and is incorporated into the patient’s regular daily routine.

Alison Smith, physician assistant, is one of the providers who works closely with heart failure patients in the clinic. Smith said that the CardioMEMs device makes it possible for the clinic to treat patients through real-time monitoring.

“Patients lie on a pillow once a day, and the device gives us their pressure reading and heart rate. We can track this information over time so that if we see a trend, we can call the patient and adjust their medications if needed before they develop symptoms (such as swelling, weight gain, or shortness of breath),” said Smith.

Recently, Dr. Kang and Smith became certified through the Congestive Heart Failure Society of America, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to improving the program and helping their patients find the best possible treatment plans and options.

To help keep patients closer to home, the Heart Failure Clinic also has access to advanced heart failure resources so patients can get the care they need without the hassle of traveling.

“We’re looking to continue expanding our services for our patients and finding new ways to improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Kang. “By broadening our expertise, expanding our resources through the heart failure certification, and bringing on more state-of-the-art procedures, we’re able to really do more for our patients.”

For more information on McLaren Greater Lansing’s Congestive Heart Failure Clinic, click here.

For more information on all cardiology services provided at McLaren Greater Lansing, click here.

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