New Hope for Heart Failure

David BudikLast fall, David Budik’s health was in rapid decline. When he and his wife moved from Minnesota to Lakewood, he let some of his medications lapse during the long car trip. By the time they arrived in Washington, David was carrying a large volume of excess bodily fluid, a side effect of his congestive heart failure; he was unable to wear his normal clothing. “It was miserable,” David says. “My wife says I was walking around like a zombie.”

David’s condition was stabilized during a brief hospital stay, and an adjusted medication regimen kept his fluids in check for several weeks. But when David relapsed, his doctors referred him to the St. Joseph Heart Failure Clinic in Tacoma.

David’s cardiologist at the Heart Failure Clinic, Rosemary Peterson, MD, admitted him to the hospital for intensive treatment, which included state-of-the-art therapy called aquapheresis.

“Essentially, aquapheresis therapy removes salt and water through a special IV,” Dr. Peterson says. “We start slow, then speed or slow the rate of fluid removal as necessary until balance is restored. From that baseline, we can return to medication therapy to manage heart failure.”

For David, the results were astonishing. “They took 49 pounds of water out of me in 11 days,” he says. “I’ve lost another 10 or 12 pounds on my own. Now I can wear normal clothes, I can bend over and I can dress myself — I can even exercise!”

David has regular follow-up appointments but expects to see his care team less frequently as his health continues to improve. “I feel great,” he says. “I get up every morning and say a prayer for Dr. Peterson and her staff.”

Learn more about the St. Joseph Heart Failure Clinic in Tacoma.