Heart Failure is a serious condition which must be managed by a doctor. Heart failure can reduce your quality of life and makes everyday activities exhausting because the heart muscle becomes weak and doesn’t pump properly. People who have Heart Failure will have had some other long-term health-related problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or it can also be caused by cardiomyopathy (a condition where your heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood around the body), which is a disease of the heart muscle.
Diagnosing Heart Failure
Early intervention is usually discussed with your GP, as they can address what signs and symptoms you have. If considered appropriate, you will be referred to a cardiologist, who will evaluate your tests results, and diagnose you. A Cardiologist such as Dr Peter Fahmy will seek to reduce any hospitalisations for Heart Failure. Once you are diagnosed, he will work with your GP on the best Heart Failure Management plan for you.
Tests for Heart Failure
When you see Dr Peter Fahmy, he will run tests to determine the diagnosis to help him assess the severity of your condition. The tests required may include:
- An ECHO
- An ECG
- A chest x-ray
- Specific blood tests called biomarkers, as they play an essential role in the differential diagnosis of acute dyspnea.
These tests will help Dr Fahmy determine the severity of your condition, once identified, he will work with you and your GP on the best heart failure management plan for you.
If your Heart Failure is worsening, you may become experience breathlessness. If this happens your symptoms may include rapid breathing, it may feel uncomfortable or painful, and you may feel a tightness in your chest – like you are suffocating. You may experience these symptoms at rest, or you may notice their presence when you do any activity, exertion, or exercise.
The Australian heart foundation says around 100,000 Australians are living with heart failure, and if you follow the advice of your doctor, it is possible your symptoms can improve. If you experience recurrent, symptoms that are worsening you should seek to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Heart failure may be acute or chronic
- Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) is a persistent and progressive condition that worsens slowly over time and has been present for four weeks or more.
- Acute Heart Failure (AHF) episodes worsen rapidly, which results in the need for hospitalisation. Acute heart failure can also develop in people without a history of chronic heart failure.
Help for Heart Failure is available
Dyspnoea (shortness of breath) is a common symptom affecting as many as 25% of people in the world today. You may experience dyspnoea at rest, or you may notice its presence when you do any activity, exertion, or exercise. Early intervention by a GP, to address signs and symptoms of Heart Failure is best practice, so be sure to discuss any symptoms as soon as you notice them.
What to expect
Dr Peter Fahmy is a General Cardiologist who has completed a further three-year specialised training in Interventional and structural Cardiology. He will study your overall health and look at your heart’s structure, and discuss if any further investigations may be needed.
Referrals for a heart failure appointment
Please remember that you must have a valid (in date) referral letter from your GP or a medical specialist to see Dr Peter Fahmy. You need to bring it with you on the day of your first appointment, and we will advise you when your referral letter needs to be updated.