Treating Congestive Heart Failure
Individuals living with heart failure require accessible healthcare services while maintaining a close relationship with their cardiologist, primary care physician and other specialists. The joint Heart Failure Program at Aiken Regional Medical Centers and Carolina Heart and Vascular Center meets these specialized needs and more.
The program’s goal is to help patients with heart failure improve their quality of life, while decreasing the need for hospitalization. A comprehensive approach is used to manage the condition through detailed education about the disease process, diet and exercise and medical therapy.
The patient plays the most important role among the program's multidisciplinary team. Although heart failure is a serious condition, treatment can relieve symptoms and help you live longer.
Is the Heart Failure Program Right for You?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, or have a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, talk to your physician about the Heart Failure Program:
- Unusual shortness of breath during physical activity or rest
- Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs or abdomen
- Weight gain of two pounds overnight or five pounds in one week
- Inability to perform simple daily tasks, such as walking to the mailbox or grocery shopping, due to symptoms
Find a Cardiologist
For more information about the Cardiovascular Institute of Carolina, call 803-641-5370. To make an appointment with a cardiologist, please contact our free physician referral line at 800-322-8322.
CardioMEMS™ Heart Failure System Sensor
Image courtesy of Abbott
Patients can have their pulmonary artery (PA) pressure monitored from the comfort of their own home. Cardiologists at Aiken Regional and Carolina Heart and Vascular Center are able to wirelessly measure and monitor daily changes in a patient's heart rate and pulmonary artery pressure – an early indicator of worsening heart failure – with the help of the CardioMEMS™ Heart Failure (HF) System. The CardioMEMS™ HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure.
How the CardioMEMS™ HF System Works
With the CardioMEMS™ HF System, a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor is implanted in the pulmonary artery through a minimally invasive heart catheterization. Once implanted, the patient's sensor can wirelessly transmit data to a secure website for the patient's cardiologist to review. From the comfort of home, the patient only needs to take a few minutes each day to transmit the data to their physician. Designed for lifetime use, the patient never feels the sensor and can carry out normal activities.
The data transmitted through the CardioMEMS™ HF System technology, however, often provides indicators of worsening heart failure, even before the patient begins showing symptoms. The physician is then able to make early, proactive and personalized patient-care management decisions, if needed, to help the patient stay well and avoid hospitalization. Avoiding in-person appointments and hospitalization is especially helpful to heart failure patients who may be more susceptible to severe illness, if they are exposed to such viruses as COVID-19, due to in-person contact.
Meet the Heart Failure Nurse Practitioner
Ashley Blalock, DNP, APRN, NP-C, CHFN
Ashley is a board-certified adult nurse practitioner and certified in heart failure. She treats patients with a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy or heart failure. She earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois.
Ashley is an active member of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and the Heart Failure Society of America.