AHN Congestive Heart Failure Clinic

When your heart starts to fail and struggles to pump blood, daily activities can become challenging. Specialists and cardiologists at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Heart Failure Clinic diagnose and treat patients in all stages of congestive heart failure.

Dr.  Stephen Bailey of AHN Cardiovascular Institute in a surgery suite at Allegheny General Hospital

"Being cared for in a system where clinicians are actively engaged in clinical trials and multi-center collaborations is key."

Stephen Bailey, MD — System Chair, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

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Congestive heart failure diagnosis and treatment

How is heart failure diagnosed? In order for your doctor to give a congestive heart failure diagnosis, they will need to get your full medical history, review your symptoms, and complete a physical examination. Your cardiologist will also check to see if you have symptoms for advanced heart failure, including high blood pressure, diabetes, or coronary artery disease.

After your physical exam is complete, your doctor may order a series of tests to help diagnose your condition, including:

  • Blood tests.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • Holter monitor or event monitor.
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Stress test.
  • Multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan.
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan.
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Cardiac pyrophosphate (PYP) scan.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
  • Cardiac catheterization.
  • Endomyocardial biopsy.

The results of these tests will help your cardiologist create a congestive heart failure treatment plan. Typically, congestive heart failure treatment involves a combination of several medications. Medications will depend on your symptoms but may include renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, beta blockers (BB) to lower heart rate, mineralocorticoid antagonists (MCA) that help the kidneys maintain salt and water balance, and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors that also work on the kidney to eliminate salt and glucose.

About the AHN Heart Failure Program

At the AHN Heart Failure Program, we provide ongoing care to relieve symptoms and delay disease progression. We also provide pre- and post-surgical care for people who get mechanical circulatory support devices or undergo heart surgery or a heart transplant. Learn more about heart failure diagnosis and treatments.

We are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s a convenient location for patients in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York looking for the