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The Difference Between Heart Attacks and Heart Failure

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The Difference Between Heart Attacks and Heart Failure

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July 25, 2016

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Heart attacks and heart failure are two common medical conditions facing millions of patients across the U.S. each year, but a diagnosis of either can result in very different approaches to how a patient is treated, monitored and followed by his or her physician. For patients, knowing the differences between the two conditions is important to ensure you get appropriate treatment and long-term care that will help result in optimal outcomes and improved quality of life.

According to the American Heart Association, a heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is significantly reduced or completely cut off due to blockages within the coronary arteries. This lack of blood flow deprives the heart’s muscle of the oxygen it needs to survive. The severity of the heart attack and the ultimate damage to the heart muscle depends on how large the blockage is and how long it takes for the person to get medical attention.

While a heart attack signals a “failure” within the heart’s blood supply, the condition known as “heart failure” is different. Despite its name, heart failure does not mean that the heart has failed entirely. Heart failure simply means that the heart is not pumping efficiently or effectively enough to meet the body’s demands. According to the American Heart Association, when a person is suffering from heart failure, the heart is weakened and can’t supply cells in the body with enough oxygen and nutrients. This often causes the person to experience fatigue and shortness of breath. Sometimes, because the heart isn’t pumping blood throughout the body fast enough, fluid backs up into the lungs, causing a condition called pulmonary edema.

Although heart failure can be managed, it is a chronic disease that cannot be cured. Heart failure has four classifications based on the severity of the patient’s symptoms — one being the least limiting and four the most severe. Each stage has therapy options to help patient’s manage their disease.

In the early stages of heart failure, a doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as a low sodium diet and regular exercise. As the disease progresses, medications or an implanted device, such as a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device may be necessary to help the heart continue beating more efficiently. CRT technology resynchronizes the lower chambers of the heart by sending uniquely programmed electrical impulses to stimulate each ventricle to beat in sync and offer optimal cardiac performance. A new technology, the CardioMEM HF System, is designed to help physicians monitor pressures near the heart, which can increase weeks before fluid builds up and symptoms occur. This monitoring allows the doctor to proactively adjust medications to lower pressures, avoiding symptoms and possible hospitalizations. Late stage heart failure therapy options include a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD), which is a mechanical heart pump that helps circulate blood throughout body when the heart can’t effectively work on its own.

All of these options can help manage the symptoms, allowing diagnosed patients to live full, meaningful lives. For more information, visit www.heartfailureanswers.com.
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Brief Summary: Prior to using any St. Jude Medical device, please review the Instructions for Use for a complete listing of indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, potential adverse events and directions for use.

Indications and Usage: The CardioMEMS HF System is indicated for wirelessly measuring and monitoring pulmonary artery (PA) pressure and heart rate in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III heart failure patients who have been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous year. The hemodynamic data are used by physicians for heart failure management with the goal of reducing heart failure hospitalizations.

Contraindications: The CardioMEMS HF System is contraindicated for patients with an inability to take dual antiplatelet or anticoagulants for one month post implant.

Potential Adverse Events: Potential adverse events associated with the implantation procedure include, but are not limited to the following: Infection, arrhythmias, bleeding, hematoma, thrombus, myocardial infarction, transient ischemic attack, stroke, death and device embolization.

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