Even though heart failure is a serious condition, it can be effectively managed. We understand suspected or diagnosed heart failure can be daunting, that’s why we offer you greater support with specialist team-based care that is designed to give you improved outcomes and better care, faster.
A healthy heart is able to contract and relax to pump enough blood around the body. We can measure a healthy heart by the percentage of blood that leaves your heart each time it contracts; this is called the ejection fraction. A normal ejection fraction is between 50-70%.
Heart failure can occur when the heart muscle is either:
1. Enlarged and or weakened (Systolic Heart Failure or Heart Failure Reduced Ejection Fraction)
2. Thickened and stiff (Diastolic Heart Failure or Heart Failure Preserved Ejection Fraction)
There are many causes for the heart muscle not working properly including:
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
Chest pains – if severe please call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. This is an emergency.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about your symptoms and how you can check and manage them.
In order to understand how your heart is functioning, you may be referred for one or more of the following tests. It is important to complete these before your appointment with the GenesisCare Heart Failure Management Clinic, to give our team all the information needed to best support you.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to assess the electrical activity in your heart. It gives your team information regarding the rate and rhythm of your heart and can help identify abnormal rhythms, (arrhythmias). It is non-invasive, painless and provides information very quickly.
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Echocardiography is an ultrasound and serves as an easy way for your cardiologist to assess your heart muscle, valves and large blood vessels. The test may take up to 45 minutes and you shouldn’t experience any pain or discomfort during it.
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Your doctor may send you for blood tests to assess your heart function.
Pathology or blood tests are an important way to help your team monitor how your medications and heart function are affecting other aspects of your overall health. For instance, some tablets can affect your kidney function, and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium in the blood stream. Initially testing may be required frequently as your medications are increased to help strengthen your heart and reduce your symptoms. Once stable, monitoring will not need to be as often.
Your GenesisCare doctor will provide you with a personalised management plan to support you with an holistic approach to your heart failure treatment. Though medication is the primary treatment, there are a number of other factors you will need to be aware of to ensure the best results.
Your treatment plan will include:
In most cases, treatment for heart failure involves medication. Medicines do not cure heart failure, but they can help you feel better, live longer, stay out of hospital and have more energy so you can enjoy life. Your doctor may prescribe you multiple medications for your heart failure. It is very important that you take all your heart failure medicines, as some are designed to work together, and follow your doctor and nurse’s instructions carefully.
No matter what treatment plan you’re recommended, we have evidence-based treatment protocols to provide the best possible life outcomes.
We support you with a team of specialist cardiac doctors and nurses who will work together with your General Practitioner to design and deliver your treatment in the way that best suits your needs. We treat the person, not just the condition.
Specialist cardiac nurses provide you with additional communication and support both during and between clinic visits to complement the medical expertise of your cardiologist. We understand that you need information, fast, so in between your appointments, your nurse team will send you relevant heart failure information online and request health status updates from you to more efficiently manage your care. You can even contact your nurse team directly by phone (*if you’re experiencing severe chest pain, please call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance).
Your team is there to provide you with the assistance, information and reassurance you need, whenever you need it.
Access care when and where you need it through our broad specialist network, cardiac assessment services and numerous clinic locations across Australia. Our clinics offer affordable in house cardiac assessments with minimal wait times to both private and public patients.
Designing better care
We’re always investing in the latest proven treatment technologies, equipment and techniques. Our outcomes are measured and help to inform the work that we do. We also challenge ourselves every day to find new and better ways to treat illness and disease and deliver better outcomes for our patients. View our clinical trials here.
At GenesisCare you’ll always have a personalised treatment plan specific to your condition and circumstance.
Your doctor refers you to GenesisCare
Your doctor will send a referral to our GenesisCare team. This can be completed by your General Practitioner, another specialist, or made if you are in hospital.
Once you’ve been referred
Once we have received your referral, you will be contacted by a member of our patient support team who will confirm your first clinic appointment date and time. Before your first appointment, expect to be contacted again by our team via a letter or a phone call to advise you of your next steps and any specific information you may need to bring on the day.
Before your appointment
It’s important for our team to fully understand your health status. Make a list of your current medications and if you have any previous test result or letters, we ask that you gather them and bring these to your first appointment.
Your first visit with the team
When you arrive, you may be asked to complete patient intake forms by our team. Once these are complete, our team will guide you to an examination room to perform an ECG. You will then meet with your nurse and cardiologist, who will work with you to create your personalised heart failure management plan and assist you with any information you may need.
During your treatment
During your visits to our Heart Failure Management Clinics, our team will provide you with the knowledge and skills to help reduce your symptoms and improve your heart health. Our online tools will provide you with additional information and education that you can access when and where it suits you. Clinic nurses are also available between your appointments for any additional questions or concerns you may have.
Although it can be a challenge living with a chronic condition like heart failure, many people can learn to manage their symptoms (as directed by their health care team) and enjoy a full life. The organisations listed to the left can offer further support services if you or someone you know is living with heart failure.