Heart Failure

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot keep up with its workload. In some cases the heart cannot fill up with enough blood, and in other cases it cannot pump blood to the rest of the body with enough force. Sometimes both problems are present. Heart failure develops over time and can affect one or both sides of the heart. Heart failure can cause fluid to build up in the feet, ankles, legs, liver, abdomen and neck veins, and/or cause shortness of breath and fatigue. Heart failure usually is caused by other diseases that damage the heart, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

There is no cure for heart failure, but by working with the cardiac experts at UAB, you can get better. The UAB Advanced Heart Failure Program is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of advanced heart failure cardiologists, who are among the nation’s leaders in this specialty.

The cardiologists are supported by a team of Magnet-certified nurses and other medical and surgical doctors on our faculty. They use the latest evidence-based treatments to provide you with an improved survival rate and quality of life. We also conduct clinical trials that often provide medications and treatment devices not available at most other centers.

We work directly with each heart failure patient to develop a personalized treatment plan. Medical and surgical options may be offered. Surgical options include a mechanical circulatory support device such as a VAD (ventricular assist device) as well as heart transplantation and heart-and-lung transplantation. You will also receive counseling on your diet and exercise, which play an important role in managing your heart failure.

Another option for patients is the UAB Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program, which provides a structured exercise regimen for patients with heart problems.


Joy O'Neal | Women and Heart Disease
Joy O’Neal | Women and Heart Disease

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