Cardiologists Winnemucca NV
Family Practice, Endocrinology
Medical School: Creighton Univ Sch Of Med, Omaha Ne 68178
Graduation Year: 1983
Family Practice, Emergency Medicine
Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine
Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Cardiac Surgery
The Truth about
You need serious intervention once your heart starts losing its pumping power.
By Lisa James
Heart failure is one of the most confusing terms in all of medicine—and one of the scariest when coming from your doctor’s lips: What do you mean, my heart is failing? “It’s quite a fearful term for many patients,” says Justine Lachmann, MD, FACC, director of the congestive heart failure program at St. Francis Hospital ( www.stfrancisheartcenter.com ) in Roslyn, New York. “The words may be more fearful than the condition.”
Heart failure is not cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops beating. Rather, heart failure, or HF, is a collective term for “signs and symptoms of fluid buildup,” explains Eileen Hsich, MD of the Cleveland Clinic ( www.clevelandclinic.org ). “It may be caused by a strong heart that does not relax or a weak heart that cannot pump properly.”
According to the American Heart Association, 5.7 million people in the US have HF, and the rate is rising because we as a nation are growing older. “Medical interventions are allowing people to live longer,” Lachmann says. “The presence of HF is increasing exponentially in people over the age of 65.”
To understand HF it helps to know some basic cardiac anatomy. The heart has four chambers, two on each side of a inner wall called the septum. The upper chambers, or atriums, take blood in; the lower ones, or ventricles, pump it out. Blood enters the right side of the heart and is sent to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. It then enters the left side, from where it is circulated throughout the body. A system of valves controls blood flow in and out of the different chambers.