ETMC Fairfield recently launched a program designed to help
patients suffering from congestive heart failure manage the disease
and avoid hospitalization.
CHF affects 5.2 million people in the United States and each
year approximately 400,000 new cases are diagnosed. CHF accounts
for 870,000 hospital admissions each year, and it is predicted that
it will cost $44.6 billion by 2015.
A CHF diagnosis indicates that the heart's pumping is weaker
than normal. This results in blood moving through the heart and
body at a slower rate, and increased pressure in the heart, which
creates a deficit of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Eventually, the muscle walls of the heart weaken resulting in less
efficient pumping. As a side effect, the kidneys may respond by
causing the body to retain fluid (water) and salt, causing swelling
or congestion throughout the body.
There are many causes of heart failure. Some of them are
uncontrolled high blood pressure, poorly functioning heart valves,
use of recreational drugs, such as cocaine, chemotherapy
drugs and irregular cardiac rhythms.
Mortality rates from heart disease in Freestone County exceed
the state average (211.7 deaths per 1,000 vs. 186.7deaths per
1,000). Proper management of CHF is needed to help patients have a
better quality of life and avoid hospitalization. That is why ETMC
Fairfield has implemented a congestive heart failure program.
Under the leadership of Marilyn Burwitz, RN, program coordinator
for the hospital's cardiopulmonary rehabilitation center, the CHF
program combines classroom education and exercise.
"The goal of the program is to help patients and caregivers
become active participants in their own care," Burwitz said. "But,
in order to do that, they need to be equipped with knowledge about
CHF and how to manage it. We want to educate them so they can avoid
hospitalization and get back to exercising on a regular basis in
order to improve the quality of their lives."
Classes meet twice a week for six weeks at the ETMC Fairfield
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center. Class size is limited to
four patients and their caregivers. Two classes meet concurrently
during a six-week period. One class meets for exercise prior to a
joint education session. The second class exercises after the
Education sessions cover topics such as cardiac anatomy, an
explanation of CHF and its management, nutrition, monitoring daily
weights and sodium intake, medications, exercise and other topics
of interest to CHF patients.
Patients can sign themselves up for the program - a physician
referral is not required. However, they must be under the
care of a primary care physician in order to participate. The cost
of the program is $25.
For more information, contact the ETMC Fairfield Cardiopulmonary
Rehabilitation Center at 903-389-1614.