When heart failure symptoms strike, people can turn to Duke’s heart failure clinic for the intensive therapy they need right away. The clinic helps people avoid preventable emergency room visits and overnight hospital stays and can reduce the interruption in their lives.
North Carolina’s First Acute Heart Failure Clinic
Heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath, leg and ankle swelling, and frequent coughing can be red flags to seek immediate medical care. These symptoms can mean a trip to the emergency room to wait for care or being admitted to the hospital for intensive care.
Duke’s heart failure specialists provide that intensive care -- such as IV diuretics and electrolytes -- at a daily heart failure clinic. It was the first of its kind in North Carolina and serves as a national training site for other hospitals.
“We have the expertise and resources to manage heart failure fast,” said Duke cardiologist Chetan Patel, MD.
How It Works
A team of cardiologists and nurse practitioners staffs the daily clinic and collaborates with heart specialists throughout Duke Health.
It's not an urgent care clinic, where walk-ins are welcome, so people needing immediate heart failure treatment call ahead or have their doctors refer them.
After receiving care at the clinic, people may be sent home with instructions to return for follow-up care at the clinic or their doctor’s office. If necessary, some may be admitted to the hospital.
The goal is to provide a continuum of care that doesn’t disrupt the care an individual is already receiving. The clinic team works hand-in-hand with patients’ doctors.
Living with Heart Failure
Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t adequately pump blood through the body. It may result from a weak heart, blockage in the arteries, heart valve disease, or other problems. People with heart failure can have acute flares that require immediate care.
Heart failure can come on slowly. Some people can have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Common symptoms include fatigue or weakness; shortness of breath; swollen feet, ankles, or abdomen; irregular pulse; weight gain; or frequent nighttime urination.
With proper disease management, it is possible for people to avoid advanced heart failure. Cardiologists at Duke give people with heart failure the care they need, when they need it, and help them live with chronic disease.