Woman runningWoman runningHeart Failure Prescription Pick Up

Common heart failure symptoms

If you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, you need to see a UCHealth provider for an evaluation of your heart:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Buildup of excess fluid in body tissues (edema)
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate

Heart failure can involve the heart’s left side, right side or both sides.

Your body’s compensation mechanisms help explain why you may not become aware of your condition until years after your heart begins its decline. This is why it’s a good idea to have regular checkups with your doctor.

Congestive heart failure (CHF)

CHF is a type of heart failure that needs timely medical attention. As blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up. This causes congestion in the body’s tissues, often resulting in swelling (edema) in the legs and ankles, and sometimes in other parts of the body too.

If fluid collects in the lungs and interferes with breathing, causing shortness of breath especially when lying down, this causes pulmonary edema—if left untreated, this can cause respiratory distress. Heart failure also affects the kidneys’ ability to dispose of sodium and water, which increases edema.

Heart failure treatment

If you are diagnosed with heart failure, we will work with you to personalize a treatment plan to help you live to the fullest with your condition. This may include medications, lifestyle changes, and advanced treatments and procedures. We routinely collaborate with other specialists, including electrophysiologists who can recommend device implants, as well as other specialty clinics such as those focused on structural heart procedures.

You will have access to the treatments and information you need, from IV diuretics at the infusion clinic, to education about a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes a low-sodium diet and symptom management. We follow best practices, including getting you on guideline-directed medical therapy and medical management of your heart.

Advanced heart failure treatment: LVAD and heart transplant

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)

When traditional treatment approaches no longer work, that’s when advanced heart failure has set in. Our highly specialized, board-certified advanced heart and transplant cardiologists, advanced practice providers and nurses comprise the only program in the Rocky Mountain region that offers comprehensive advanced care, including left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and heart transplantation. In order to offer the most up-to-date therapies, our program is involved in national, leading-edge clinical trials that develop and test new medications and device technology for heart failure.

An LVAD is a battery-operated, mechanical pumping device that we implant surgically. It helps maintain the pumping action of a heart that is no longer working effectively on its own.

Heart transplant

If all other treatments don’t work, you might qualify for a heart transplant.

We have a long-standing history of successful transplantation, having performed our first heart transplant in 1986. Patient quality of life is vital to our program, with patients being the most important part of our heart transplant family.

Heart Failure Recovery

Successful treatment for heart failure

If you think you might have already been diagnosed, come see us for a personalized treatment plan. Our expertise and cutting-edge procedures can help you maintain more of the active, healthy life you love.


MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Heart Failure (https://medlineplus.gov/heartfailure.html)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Heart Failure – What Is Heart Failure? (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart-failure)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heart Failure (https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_failure.htm)