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Heart Failure Care

Heart failure is a weakening of the heart's pumping power. With heart failure, your body doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients to meet its needs. These measures show some of the recommended treatments provided for most adults with heart failure.

Hospital Discharges 7/1/2013 through 6/30/2014

Percent of Heart Failure Patients Given ACE Inhibitor or ARB for Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction (LVSD)

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 96%
United States Avg 97%

ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with heart failure and are particularly beneficial in those patients with decreased function of the left side of the heart.

Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have heart failure symptoms or decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by limiting the effects of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, and may thus lower blood pressure and reduce the work the heart has to perform.

Since the ways in which these two kinds of drugs work are different, your doctor will decide which drug is most appropriate for you. Standards for care say that if patients have a heart attack and/or heart failure, they should get a prescription for ACE inhibitors or ARBs if they have decreased heart function before leaving the hospital.

Percent of Heart Failure Patients Given an Evaluation of Left Ventricular Systolic (LVS) Function

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 94%
United States Avg 99%

The proper treatment for heart failure depends on what area of your heart is affected.

An important test is to check how your heart is pumping, called an "evaluation of the left ventricular systolic function." It can tell your health care provider whether the left side of your heart is pumping properly. Other ways to check on how your heart is pumping include:

  • your medical history
  • a physical examination
  • listening to your heart sounds
  • other tests as ordered by a physician (like an ECG (electrocardiogram), chest x-ray, blood work, and an echocardiogram)

Percent of Heart Failure Patients Given Discharge Instructions

Billings Clinic 98%
State of Montana Avg 92%
United States Avg 95%

Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue.

Before you leave the hospital, the staff at the hospital should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home. The information should include your information about:

  • activity level (what you can and can't do)
  • diet (what you should and shouldn't eat or drink)
  • medications
  • follow-up appointment
  • watching your daily weight
  • what to do if your symptoms get worse

The percentage includes only patients whose history and condition indicate the treatment is appropriate. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your treatment.

For more information about heart health, check:

Related Quality Information

For help in making good decisions about your care, compare Billings Clinic to other Health Care Organizations by visiting Hospital Compare or HealthGrades.

Consumer Reports Ranks Hospital Safety. See how Billings Clinic fares in the Nation in the Consumer Reports Article.

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