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Heart Failure Specialist

Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue

Cardiologists located in East Harlem, New York, NY

Heart failure can be a devastating and life-limiting condition, and for some people results in heart attack and cardiac arrest. Henock Saint-Jacques, MD, FACC, is a highly qualified heart specialist at Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York City who has extensive experience diagnosing and treating patients with heart failure. Find out how Dr. Saint-Jacques can help you by calling the East Harlem office or requesting an appointment online today.

Heart Failure Q & A

What is heart failure?

Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), is a condition that arises when your heart doesn’t pump blood effectively enough.

Problems such as coronary artery disease (CAD) and high blood pressure (hypertension) weaken or stiffen the heart muscle to the extent that it can’t fill or pump properly, leading to heart attack and cardiac arrest.

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

Numerous symptoms can indicate heart failure, including:

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Shortness of breath when exercising or laying down
  • Coughing or wheezing and producing blood-tinged phlegm
  • Having to urinate more often at night
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Rapid weight gain caused by fluid retention
  • Nausea and loss of appetite

If your heart failure is due to a heart attack, you’ll also experience chest pain.

What causes heart failure?

Heart failure can be acute and happen suddenly or chronic and develop over time. Chronic heart failure is most often due to coronary artery disease and heart attack. Other potential causes include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Faulty heart valves
  • Cardiomyopathy (damage to the heart muscle)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV, and thyroid dysfunction can also increase your risk of heart failure.

Acute onset heart failure is usually due to a virus or infection in your heart, an allergic reaction, a pulmonary embolism (PE), or a side effect of medication.

What treatments are available for heart failure?

The best way to avoid heart failure is to take steps to reduce your risk factors, such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress. If you have conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure that could lead to heart failure, managing them is essential.

In some cases, Dr. Saint-Jacques can correct heart failure by repairing a faulty heart valve or performing coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG). Alternatively, he may recommend an implantable device such as a biventricular pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or a ventricular assist device (VAD).

Medication for heart failure may include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Inotropes
  • Digoxin (digitalis)
  • Nitrates
  • Statins
  • Blood thinners

The exact combination of medication you need depends on the cause and extent of your heart failure, so Dr. Saint-Jacques tailors your prescription to optimize your quality of life and extend life expectancy.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart failure or are worried about your heart health, call Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue or book an appointment online today.