Diagnostic and Medical Care for Heart Failure

Nurse listening to patient's heart

Using highly advanced diagnostic equipment, our physicians aim to uncover the specific cause of heart failure. After a thorough evaluation, University of Chicago heart failure specialists select the best treatment plan to help prevent or slow down the progression of the condition. These treatments are designed to reduce fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling, and other complications associated with heart failure.

Diagnostic Services

  • Cardiac MRI, a noninvasive test that can be used to uncover the cause of heart failure, study weakened heart muscle, and visualize damage caused by a heart attack.
  • Advanced echocardiography testing, or tests that use sound waves to create a picture of the heart to determine valve function and blood flow.
  • Outpatient electrocardiography (EKG or ECG) to study the electrical function of the heart to help diagnose underlying heart disease.
  • A dedicated cardiac catheterization laboratory, with full diagnostic capabilities.

Medical Services

  • Personalized recommendations for lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of heart failure or other cardiac diseases.
  • Access to a wide array of heart failure medications. Our heart failure specialists have many years of experience in prescribing the best, most balanced combination of heart medicines for each patient. Often, our cardiologists can prescribe new or experimental medicines that are not widely available.
  • Catheterization treatments -- such as angioplasty and stent implants -- are used to improve blood flow by reopening blocked blood vessels. Our interventional cardiologists also offer intracoronary radiation to reduce renarrowing of blood vessels after treatment.
  • Evaluation and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Treatments include pacemaker and defibrillator insertions, radiofrequency ablation for arrhythmias, and pharmacological regimens.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), a treatment that is aimed at coordinating the pumping action of the heart's ventricles. A small, special pacemaker-like device is used to deliver electrical signals to restore proper heart contractions. This treatment is also called biventricular pacing.