What Is Heart Failure?
Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has “failed.” It means that your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be. When this happens, your body doesn’t receive the oxygen-rich blood it needs. You may feel fatigued and short of breath, even after doing a simple activity. Use our heart failure symptoms self-check tool to see if you have any heart failure symptoms.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with heart failure, you probably have many questions. We’ll provide you with answers to help you manage your symptoms and achieve your best health. Our skilled heart team will work with you to manage your symptoms and help you lead an active, healthy life.
At CHI Franciscan Health, we earned the distinction of being the first accredited system for heart failure in the Northwest. In addition, our outpatient program stretches across the entire CHI Franciscan network — from Bremerton to Enumclaw — and includes resources to help you successfully manage heart failure.
Diagnosing heart failure
Accurate diagnosis is the first important step in a treatment plan. The more precisely your condition can be diagnosed, the more personalized and effective your treatment plan will be.
The first step in diagnosis begins with an evaluation from a doctor. We’ll ask about your symptoms, discuss your personal and family heart history, perform a physical examination and listen to your heart.
We’ll most likely recommend further diagnostic tests to better determine if you have heart failure. These tests can include:
- Blood tests — We check your cholesterol levels and assess how your liver, kidneys and thyroid glands are functioning
- Echocardiogram — This test evaluates how well your heart pumps blood
- Chest X-ray — An X-ray provides detailed images of the structure of your heart muscle
- Exercise stress test — This shows how your blood flows when you’re exercising or placing stress on your heart
Caring for heart failure requires an individualized approach. Our cardiologists will work closely with you to monitor your symptoms and overall health, including diet, weight, fluid retention, medications, physical activity and home and family support to ensure the best care possible. Your doctor will also help you identify worsening symptoms so you know when to act.
Your cardiologist may recommend attending our Living Successfully with Heart Failure classes, a structured cardiac rehabilitation program. People who are treated in heart failure clinics often have more energy for the things they love to do, increase their feeling of control over their disease, are healthier and experience fewer hospitalizations.
Heart failure clinics
Our heart failure clinics, located in Franciscan Heart & Vascular Associates offices in the Franciscan Medical Pavilion in Tacoma and on “2 North" at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, provide comprehensive outpatient care for people living with heart failure. Learn more about CHI Franciscan Health’s heart failure clinics by calling Tacoma at 253-627-1244 or Bremerton at 360-373-2547.
Your Heart Care Team
When Do You Need a Heart Specialist?
Your First Cardiology Visit
Recovering from Heart Surgery
Accepted Insurance Plans
Conditions We Treat
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Arrhythmias and Atrial Fibrillation
Chest Pain (Angina)
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Heart Valve Disease
> Heart Failure
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Why Choose Us for Heart Care?
Heart Health: Prevention and Support