St. Joseph Health System
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Heart Failure

Heart Failure (congestive heart failure or CHF) has become one of the most common and severe heart diseases affecting approximately 4.7 million Americans and is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization. There may be many causes for heart failure such as, hypertension or diabetes, but no matter the cause it ultimately results in an inability of the heart muscle to function well enough to maintain the demands of the rest of the body.

The left ventricle of the heart is greatly responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body. LVF measurement tests are essential in helping your physician manage the treatment of heart failure. The treatment of patients with moderate to severe dysfunction of the left ventricle, under national guidelines, include prescribing medications called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) to lower complications and mortality rates. However, it is important to check with a physician concerning allergies or other medical issues before taking these medicines.

Evidence based indicators are aspects of care that have been scientifically proven to improve clinical outcomes.
Indicators for heart failure include:

  • Discharge Instructions: Heart failure patients discharged home with written instructions or educational material given to patient or caregiver at discharge or during the hospital stay addressing all of the following: activity level, diet, discharge medications, follow-up appointment, weight monitoring, and what to do if symptoms worsen
  • Evaluation of LVS Function: Heart failure patients with documentation in the hospital record that left ventricular systolic (LVS) function was evaluated before arrival, during hospitalization, or is planned for after discharge
  • ACEI or ARB for LVSD: Heart failure patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) who are prescribed an ACEI or ARB at hospital discharge. For purposes of this measure, LVSD is defined as chart documentation of a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) less than 40% or a narrative description of left ventricular systolic (LVS) function consistent with moderate or severe systolic dysfunction
  • Adult Smoking Cessation Advice/Counseling: Heart failure patients with a history of smoking cigarettes, who are given smoking cessation advice or counseling during hospital stay. For purposes of this measure, a smoker is defined as someone who has smoked cigarettes anytime during the year prior to hospital arrival.

At St Joseph, well over 95% of patients receive all the appropriate indicators of care.


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