Heart Failure

How is it Diagnosed?

Physicians can often make a preliminary diagnosis of heart failure with only a medical history and careful physical examination. A physical examination may reveal irregular or rapid heartbeat. There may be distended neck veins, enlarged liver, peripheral edema, and signs of pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs).

Listening to the chest with a stethoscope may reveal lung crackles or abnormal heart sounds. Blood pressure may be normal, elevated, or low.

Enlargement of the heart or decreased heart functioning may be seen on:

  • An echocardiogram
  • A heart catheterization
  • A chest X-ray
  • A chest CT scan
  • Nuclear heart scans
  • An ECG may show arrhythmias and may also detect enlargement of the heart muscle, and the presence of coronary artery disease
  • A urinalysis may indicate kidney failure as a cause of the disorder, or as a consequence of left heart failure
  • Multiple blood studies may be performed, including CBC, blood chemistry, and other studies to determine the exact cause of heart failure

At the Maryland Heart Center, the latest diagnostic, medical and surgical therapies are available. Our physicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and revolutionary heart scanning technologies such as three-dimensional echocardiography and ultra-fast chest CT and PET scans to determine the cause of each patient's symptoms. In conjunction with more conventional tests, these sophisticated tools enable practitioners to uniquely tailor the care of each patient.

Please call if you would like to make an appointment or talk to someone about our services. Patients dial 1-866-408-6885, physicians dial 410-328-6622 or 1-800-318-1019.

This page was last updated: September 15, 2014

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