What You Should Know About Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy

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    Stony Brook’s Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Center and Ventricular Assist Device Program — the only one on Long Island — have been widely recognized for excellent outcomes, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment, and innovative research efforts that are helping many patients — even those with advanced conditions — feel better and live longer.

    What is cardiomyopathy?

    Cardiomyopathy is a term for a variety of diseases of the heart muscle that can cause a weakening of the heart function, which may ultimately lead to heart failure.
    In heart failure, the heart is not able to pump the amount of blood the body needs, leading to serious health complications.

    What is key for patients to know?

    With the proper diet, exercise and the right selection of medications, patients with heart failure can lead long and symptom-free lives. Even patients with severe or advanced heart failure have options, including mechanical assist devices, transplantation and/or experimental medications. At Stony Brook, we help patients and their families with managing the disease. Together, after establishing a treatment plan, we monitor how well it’s working and troubleshoot problems or symptoms before they become advanced or even life threatening. The key is to establish a close working relationship with a cardiologist and care team that you trust.

    What services does the Center offer?

    On an outpatient basis, we provide comprehensive diagnosis and evaluation, and actively work with our patients to manage their heart failure around-the-clock.

    We also offer:

    • Evaluation for specialized pacemakers and defibrillators designed to lessen symptoms and to prevent sudden cardiac death
    • Evaluation and implantation of mechanical assist devices for patients with advanced heart failure
    • Access to highly selective clinical trials with promising therapies and devices months or even years before they are widely available

    For patients who are hospitalized or transferred to Stony Brook, our inpatient Heart Failure Consultation Service is available— working with the patient’s personal cardiologist or physician — to optimize care.

    How does the ventricular assist device (VAD) help patients?

    A VAD is a surgically implanted mechanical pump designed to support heart function and blood flow in people who have severely weakened hearts. VADs can be implanted as short-term “bridge therapy” until a heart transplant can be performed or as long-term “destination therapy” if heart transplantation is not an option for the patient. Stony Brook has the only Joint Commission certified VAD Program on Long Island, a testament to our excellence in care. And this means that patients can avoid the inconvenience of leaving Long Island for all the preparatory and follow up visits as well as the procedure.

    What do the Center's numerous recognitions and awards mean for patients?

    They help attest to the quality of care we deliver. Along with recognition of our doctors as top performers on Long Island, we’ve recently received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Quality Performance Achievement Award. This recognizes Stony Brook’s commitment and success in delivering excellent care for patients with heart failure. Stony Brook has also been recognized in the 2010 report of the Niagara Health Quality Coalition as the hospital with the highest survival rate on Long Island.

    How do patients and physicians access the program?

    To schedule a consultation with a heart failure specialist, call (631) 444-9600. To inquire about clinical trials, call (631) 444-4691. For information about the Heart Institute and its many services, call (631) 44-HEART (444-3278) or visit heart.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

     
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    All health and health-related information contained in this article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance, and treatment. The information is intended to offer only general information for individuals to discuss with their healthcare provider. It is not intended to constitute a medical diagnosis or treatment or endorsement of any particular test, treatment, procedure, service, etc. Reliance on information provided is at the user's risk. Your healthcare provider should be consulted regarding matters concerning the medical condition, treatment, and needs of you and your family. Stony Brook University/SUNY is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.