Heart failure

The term "heart failure" doesn't mean that someone's heart has stopped. It means that the heart is beating, but not pumping enough blood through the body. Heart failure, especially when detected early, responds well to treatment.

You’re at greater risk of developing heart failure if you’ve had:

  • A heart attack
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart rhythm disorders, such as AFib
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF)

The symptoms of heart failure are often dismissed as other less-threatening conditions. Common symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough or wheezing
  • Swelling of the abdomen or sudden weight gain
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating or staying alert

Treating and reversing heart failure

The good news is that heart failure isn't just treatable—it may be reversible. At Edward-Elmhurst Health, you have access to the latest innovations for treating heart failure, backed by the strength of skilled cardiologists and a full range of support services.

Find a specialist

Medication is one of the many solutions for managing heart failure. Many eligible patients also experience significant improvement through cardiac surgery, such as angioplasty, valve replacement and bypass procedures. Others find their heart function is greatly improved through the implantation of specialized devices, including:

  • Pacemakers
  • Internal defibrillators
  • CardioMEMS™, a pioneering treatment for remote monitoring of heart failure

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD), an innovative mechanical device that circulates blood through the body


The CardioMEMS HF System is the first FDA-approved heart failure monitor proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions for heart failure and improve the quality of life for qualifying patients.

The device includes a miniature wireless monitor that transmits information about heart function directly to healthcare professionals, allowing treatment to be fine-tuned before damage occurs. Edward Hospital is one of the first hospitals in the Chicago area to implant the CardioMEMS system, and was active in the clinical trial that lead to the approval of the device.

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)

LVAD functions as a mechanical heart pump, restoring blood flow throughout the body and enabling patients to breathe more easily and feel less fatigued. Organ function is usually improved, too, because of the increase in blood flow. After receiving an LVAD, patients generally feel more energetic and able to resume normal activities.

Edward is the only community hospital in Chicagoland that provides LVAD to non-transplant patients.

Education and support for heart failure patients

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure, we can help you control the disease and prevent further complications. The most successful way to keep heart failure from worsening is through medical monitoring and lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and smoking cessation.

Edward-Elmhurst can help you be Healthy Driven.

Heart Failure Wellness Clinic

Following discharge from the hospital, you’ll likely need some extra help as you transition to a “new normal.” Our outpatient Heart Failure Wellness Clinic is designed to help ease the transition for you and your family.

For the first 30 days after discharge, your clinic visits will be supplemented by appointments with your primary care physician and cardiologist so you’re seen by someone at least once a week. Our heart failure specialists will provide one-on-one assistance with care coordination and disease-management skills, such as medication dosing, fluid intake and weight management.

Participants in the clinic have a much lower readmission rate to the hospital because of their ability to self-manage their care at home. A physician's order is needed to participate in the clinic.

Heart to Heart: Heart Failure Support Group

The Edward Heart Hospital Heart Failure Support Group for patients, families and caregivers meets the last Wednesday of every month in the heart hospital conference room from 3 - 4 p.m. The topics include the challenges of living with heart failure. 

If you have any questions or need more information, please call the Heart Hospital charge nurse at 630-646-8117.