Heart Failure Overview

Heart failure is a condition where the heart stops being able to pump blood as well as it is supposed to, resulting in difficulty providing adequate blood flow to the parts of the body that need it. This condition is chronic and progressive, and it is often caused by other heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and past heart attacks. When someone’s heart is no longer able to pump blood properly, certain lifestyle changes and medications may be recommended to help manage the condition and treat its various symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and increased heart rate. In some cases, a heart transplant or other long-term treatment option may be recommended as a solution for heart failure.

When someone develops heart failure, the condition will present itself in one of three ways:

  • Left-sided – The left side of the heart, which collects oxygenated blood from the lungs and sends it to the arteries, is either unable to contract properly to push blood out (systolic failure) or unable to relax properly to fill up with oxygenated blood (diastolic failure).
  • Right-sided – The right side of the heart, which collects blood from the veins and pumps it into the lungs to receive oxygen, loses its ability to push blood properly into the lungs, often as a result of left-sided heart failure due to increased pressure backward through the lungs.
  • Congestive – The blood flow from the heart slows to the point that blood backs up in the veins and body tissues, usually resulting in swelling. This form of heart failure requires immediate medical attention.

Joint CommissionAt Tampa General Hospital, our cardiologists work together to diagnose and provide treatment for patients whose hearts are no longer able to function properly. In 2015, TGH became the only hospital in Hillsborough County and one of only 10 hospitals in Florida to receive full heart failure accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) for our expertise and the high quality of care that we provide to our patients. We offer a variety of treatments, including the implantation of a mechanical circulatory support device, often referred to as a ventricular assist device (VAD), and a heart transplant. And, we been noted for our success in providing cardiac care, earning recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Cardiology & Heart Surgery.

To be referred to a heart failure specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online PhysicianFinder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627)