How and When Patients with Heart Failure Come to Cardiac Partners
Most cardiologists take care of patients with heart failure. Sometimes a cardiologist may be caring for a patient with heart failure whose condition is not improving or worsening, and they seek advice to prescribe the best medications. Many patients with heart failure require a combination of many medicines. It is not uncommon for a patient to take four to seven medicines for heart failure alone. We often provide consultations to optimize the medical therapies for heart failure. Many physicians care for patients with routine heart failure, but we may be consulted when additional care is required. Many patients with heart failure seek our care independently, and we often receive referrals from primary care physicians.
Both primary care physicians and cardiologists from the region refer patients to us when advanced therapies for heart failure may be required. Cooper is a highly specialized teaching hospital with extensive interventional and cardiac surgery experience. Patients are referred to us if they need advanced therapies for either coronary artery disease or valvular heart disease. If heart failure is caused by valvular heart disease, the patient may require cardiac surgery or interventions from our structural heart team.
A Connected Practice of Specialists
The treatment of a patient with heart failure may require multiple cardiac specialists. Cardiac Partners, with more than 30 cardiologists, provides our patients with a full range of experienced specialists. A patient with heart failure may need an invasive cardiologist to insert stents. A cardiac surgeon may be needed to repair or replace a damaged heart valve or perform coronary bypass surgery. A structural heart team may be needed to perform nonoperative mitral valve repair, called MitraClipTM, which is a procedure that is being performed with increasing frequency for patients with HFrEF.
Patients may require an electrophysiologist to implant a pacemaker or defibrillator. The electrophysiologist may be called on to treat arrhythmias with ablation techniques to help prevent further episodes of heart failure.
Every patient is unique, and all potential treatments must be considered. At Cardiac Partners, patients have access to specialized cardiologists who work as a team—with the patient—to get the best outcome.
In addition, our cardiologists share the patient’s electronic health records, so the entire team is knowledgeable about the patient’s medical history and can communicate easily and effectively. We also share an imaging storage system, so it is simple for the cardiologist to review the images from tests. For instance, our cardiologists can easily look at the images of an echocardiogram—not just the report, but the images themselves. Patients appreciate this capability—otherwise, they might have to carry the disc from their study from one doctor to another.
Cardiac Partners also provides cardiac rehabilitation. Recent studies have shown that cardiac rehabilitation for patients with heart failure is valuable in improving outcomes. At each of our cardiac rehabilitation facilities, patients exercise under supervision three days per week and receive additional education on ways to help maintain good health.