Heart failure affects an estimated 5.7 million Americans, and about 670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. It is also the leading cause of hospitalization in people over age 65.
Heart failure (sometimes called congestive heart failure or ventricular dysfunction) means your heart muscle is not functioning as well as it should. Either the left ventricle (lower chamber of the heart) is not contracting with enough force (systolic heart failure), or the ventricles are stiff and do not relax and fill properly (diastolic heart failure). The treatment of heart failure requires a specialized multidisciplinary approach to manage the overall patient care plan.
There may not be any overt symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant, or can come and go. With the right care, heart failure will not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis, or outlook for the future, will depend on how well your heart muscle is working, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
Take this opportunity to learn more about heart failure, including diagnosis and treatments, and have your questions answered by Cleveland Clinic cardiologists Randall Starling, MD, MPH and Viviana Navas, MD.
Randall Starling, MD, MPH, is Head of the Section of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Medicine, the Medical Director of the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure and a Staff Cardiologist in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine. He also serves as Vice Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine, Operations. He specializes in congestive heart failure, cardiac transplantation, cardiomyopathy and mechanical circulatory support devices. Dr. Starling was appointed to the Cleveland Clinic in 1995 as a Staff Physician and Director of the Heart Transplant Medical Services. He has a joint appointment as a Staff Physician in Cleveland Clinic’s Multi-Organ Transplant Center. He is board-certified as a Diplomat in internal medicine and in the subspecialty of cardiovascular disease. In addition, he is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Dr. Starling has been a principal or co-principal investigator on numerous clinical trials, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant-funded trials and numerous industry-sponsored trials. He conducted many other research trials including multicenter, randomized trials related to cardiac transplantation and heart failure. He has particular interest in devices and other forms of surgical therapy for heart failure.
Viviana Navas, MD, is the Head of the Section of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Medicine and Staff Cardiologist in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Florida. She specializes in advanced heart failure therapies, mechanical circulatory support devices, cardiac transplantation, myocardial biopsy, right heart catheterization and cardiomyopathy. Dr. Navas is a Cleveland Clinic alumna – completing her internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship as Chief Fellow at Cleveland Clinic Florida. She also completed her heart failure and transplant fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland. Dr. Navas was later appointed Head of the Heart Failure Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida in 2010. She is board-certified in internal medicine and in the subspecialty areas of cardiovascular disease and nuclear cardiology.