The University of Chicago Medicine is home to one of the most respected heart failure programs in the country. With experts in heart failure medical treatment, mechanical circulatory support and cardiac surgery, including heart transplant, we are committed to delivering the highest level of care to patients, especially those with advanced or complex disease requiring state-of-the-art therapies. 

What is Heart Failure?

When your heart is healthy, it continuously pumps blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged and is unable to deliver enough nutrient-rich blood to meet the body’s needs for oxygen. In some cases, the kidneys respond to heart failure by retaining water and, as a result, fluid builds up in the arms, legs, lungs and other organs. This condition is referred to as congestive heart failure. While there is no cure for heart failure, medications, lifestyle changes and surgical options can alleviate symptoms and help patients lead an active life.

Signs & Symptoms of Heart Failure

With more than 5 million people suffering from heart failure in the United States, it is so important to understand the causes, signs and symptoms of this condition in order to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The best defense against heart failure is to live a healthy lifestyle. But it is also critical to know when you are experiencing symptoms and to reach out to your doctor as quickly as possible. Patients with heart failure may experience: 

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

  • Heart palpitations

  • Lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain

  • Persistent coughing

  • Shortness of breath, during exercise or rest

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen
  • Weight gain

These symptoms may be a sign of heart failure or of another medical condition. If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, see your physician for an evaluation.

Conditions That Cause Heart Failure

In most cases, heart failure is caused by an underlying, progressive illness. If you have a underlying condition that is not being managed, it can make weaken your heart and exacerbate heart failure. Some of the conditions associated with heart failure include:

Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Heart Failure

Explore below to see how we’re advancing heart failure care for adults and children. Our cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons and researchers are delivering the most advanced, most personalized treatments to more of the patients who need them most. 

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