Baptist Health Heart Failure and Transplant Institute

Heart Failure

What is heart failure?

The term "heart failure" makes it sound like the heart is no longer working, when it really means that the heart isn't pumping as well as it should be.

What are the different types of heart failure?

There are two main types, with a third that is the combination of the two.

Systolic Heart Failure is where the heart doesn’t eject blood normally, also known as “reduced ejection fraction.”

Diastolic Heart Failure is where the heart has become stiff and doesn’t fill properly between the contractions.

Combined Heart Failure has components of both of the above. As an individual’s heart failure advances, most patients will have combined heart failure.

Treatments for Systolic and Combined Heart Failure have specific medicine guidelines and have been shown to decrease hospitalizations and increase life span. For Diastolic Heart Failure, controlling blood pressure, using diuretics and exercising have shown the best benefits.

What are the causes and risk factors for heart failure 

Common causes of heart failure:

Coronary artery disease
Hypertension
Genetics (familial cardiomyopathies)
Heart valve disease
Heart rhythm problems
Chemotherapy/radiation
Alcohol abuse 

Less common causes for heart failure:

Thick (hypertrophic) heart
Amyloid disease
Viral or bacterial myocarditis
Thyroid disease
Diabetes
Postpartum complications
Lupus, scleroderma
Sarcoid

Common risk factors for heart failure:

Hypertension
Coronary artery disease
Diabetes
Congenital heart defects (undiagnosed until adulthood)
Family history
Obesity

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Confusion or impaired thinking

What treatment options are available?

As Arkansas’s only comprehensive care center for heart failure, Baptist Health offers many options for living with your heart failure through our Heart Failure Program.

After a comprehensive examination of your heart’s function our team of heart failure specialists will develop custom strategies that will help you function as well as possible for the rest of your life. No matter which therapies are used they all involve making important lifestyle changes and faithfully taking medications to manage your symptoms. 

Although chronic heart failure can remain stable for a long time, eventually it will worsen. As your symptoms become more prominent and your quality of life is affected, you may require more advanced surgical therapies such as implanted mechanical assist devices (LVADs), heart transplants, even total artificial hearts.

Heart Transplant

Left Ventricular Assist Device 

Total Artificial Heart

Baptist Health Heart Failure and Transplant Institute offers seamless care for advanced heart failure patients - from management to ventricular assist device to transplantation.

No other hospital in the state can offer this level of care.

What are common daily routines for heart failure patients?

Know your medications and take them faithfully, call your doctor if you can’t get refills or you are having other problems.
Manage your “intake” of salt products (“sodium”) with a daily maximum of 2000mg.
Drink less than 64oz of all fluids per day.
Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
Chart your daily weight, blood pressure and heart rate. Your doctor or nurse will ask to see these records if your symptoms increase.
Exercise a little each day but don’t overdo it. Your doctor will recommend a routine.

When should you call your doctor or nurse? 

Call your provider if you are experiencing:
worsening shortness of breath
persistent coughing or wheezing
increased heart rate
lower blood pressure than normal
lack of appetite or nausea (maybe with vomiting)
increasing weight gain that isn’t controlled with prescribed diuretic
dizziness, confusion or impaired thinking
increased fatigue
fluid accumulation in the ankles, joints and abdomen
decreased urination

Heart Failure Hot Line

You may have some anxiety about doing too much too soon, have questions about your medications, or simply need professional reassurance that symptoms you’re experiencing are not related to a new cardiac event. 

With the Baptist Health Heart Failure Hot Line, you have a convenient and valuable resource right at your fingertips. Baptist Health eICU care critical care nurses with a background in cardiology answer calls to the hot line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

To reach one of our specialized nurses, call 501-202-4200 or 1-844-250-8107 anytime, any day of the week. 

Physician Referral Form

Medical professionals interested in referring a patient to our clinic, please complete this referral form in its entirety, to ensure efficient scheduling. Please do not hesitate to call our clinic with any questions about our program.

Helpful Links

ARORA (Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) 

UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) 

SRTR (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients) 

Transplant Living 

Thoratec 

My LVAD 

What are the patient outcomes?

The best advocates for the care you can expect from Baptist Health are the patients themselves. Hear success stories from a few of our patients.