Heart Failure

Heart failure affects more than five million Americans. Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently to the body’s other organs, resulting in those organs failing as well. This can lead to the development of some or all of the following symptoms: fatigue, swelling in the feet, ankles, or abdomen, shortness of breath, and/or cough. Those at risk include diabetic patients, patients with high blood pressure, and patients with a history of heart attack.

Chronic Heart failure occurs when then heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. Since an inadequate amount of blood is being pumped through the heart and body, your heart has to work harder. As a result, the heart becomes dilated in order to hold more blood or the chambers become stiff. This allows the heart to compensate in the short term, but in time, the heart simply can’t keep up. Heart failure can be caused by heart valve disease, a heart attack, diseases that directly affect the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), or certain conditions that overwork the heart, including high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney disease or valve disease. Symptoms can include congested lungs, fluid and water retention, weight gain (from the retention of water), bloating in the stomach, loss of appetite or nausea, swollen ankles or legs, dizziness, fatigue or weakness and rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Dilated cardiomyopaty is when your heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) becomes enlarged and can’t pump blood to your body as well as it should. It is a common cause of heart failure, since the heart can’t pump enough blood to supply the body’s tissues and organs. Left untreated, dilated cardiomyopathy can lead to death.Symptoms can include shortness of breath, even when you’re just lying down, reduced ability to exercise, persistent coughing or wheezing, lightheadedness, dizziness or feeling faint, swelling of the legs, ankles and feet, sudden weight gain, difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness and palpitations of the heart.
Heart Transplant - Florida Hospital Transplant Institute Florida Hospital has established the first heart transplant program in Central Florida, led by three prominent physicians: Hartmuth Bittner, MD, PhD, Barbara Czerska, MD, and Donald M. Botta, Jr., MD. This advanced, fully comprehensive program provides heart transplant patients with all the care they need in Central Florida.  The Florida Hospital Transplant Institute specializes in advanced heart failure, cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support programs.  The transplant Institute performed Central Florida’s first heart transplant in February of 2012 and looks forward to providing continued care for patients suffering from heart disease.  The Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute works closely with the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute to provide heart transplantation services. Patients who are referred for transplantation by his or her regular doctor or cardiologist generally have advanced heart disease or irreversible damage, meaning that your heart is no longer able to function properly.  There are medical treatments or therapies, which may help ease the symptoms, however, heart disease, or cardiomyopathy, has no cure. Heart disease can gradually worsen despite therapy, this is when the disease is classified as "end-stage". Once we receive your referral, Florida Hospital's Heart Transplant team will evaluate you for advanced heart failure therapies that may include cardiac transplantation. Once your records and results are obtained, a transplant coordinator will contact you to further discuss your clinical history.  A review is done to determine if there are any reasons not to proceed with the evaluation. Criteria for Heart TransplantCandidates will be considered for transplant up until their 70th birthday.Candidate cannot have a major disease which will diminish their chances of long-term survival.No evidence of active cancer within the past five years. Exceptions will be on an individual case review. Free of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use for at least six months, and must remain abstinent throughout all phases of transplant.No evidence of extensive vascular disease that affects circulation, brain, or other major arteries.Psychologically committed to participate actively in the transplant process.Support network to assist with the necessary tests, exams, and assistance in the pre and post transplant phases.Able to follow instructions related to treatment, prescribed medications, appointments, and education meetings. Have adequate insurance coverage for medications that are needed to prevent rejection.  To learn more about the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute and their team, click here.