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Heart failure: Effective care in a newly certified treatment center


Certificate for national heart failure center in Berlin

The German Heart Center Berlin and the cardiac medical facilities of the Berlin Charité on the Virchow Clinic campus have been certified as a joint supra-regional heart center. The examination showed that the facilities currently have an optimal range of treatments based on all modern options for the diagnosis and therapy of heart diseases.

The certificate was awarded by the German Society for Cardiology (DGK) and the German Society for Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery (DGTHG). The institutions can now call themselves the "National Heart Failure Center". "We are very happy to receive the award as confirmation of years of intensive and interdisciplinary cooperation between the two institutions," explains Professor Dr. med. Volkmar Falk, Medical Director of the German Heart Center Berlin and Director of the Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery - Heart Surgery of the Charité in a press release on the award.

A nationwide heart failure network is emerging

"At the same time, we see the certificate as an incentive for the further expansion of a nationwide heart failure network," reports Professor Dr. Burkert Pieske, director of cardiology at the supraregional heart failure center.

Heart failure is very common

According to the Berlin doctors, the incidence of heart failure has increased steadily in recent decades. Ironically, this is due in part to improved medical treatment as more and more people survive heart disease like a heart attack and subsequently develop heart failure. Around 1.8 million people in Germany currently suffer from chronic heart failure. Every year there are around 300,000 new cases. According to the specialists, heart failure is the most common diagnosis in hospital admissions and is one of the most common causes of death.

What happens in the body with a weak heart?

When the heart's pumping capacity is no longer sufficient to meet the body's need for blood, it is called heart failure. In many cases, the heart muscle no longer has enough strength to circulate the blood sufficiently. This can result in blood congestion in the vessels from the lungs to the heart, which can manifest itself through shortness of breath and feelings of oppression. (Further information: heart failure: we should know these first signs)

How is heart failure triggered?

The Berlin experts state that coronary heart disease is the main cause of heart failure. Other possible causes are:

  • High blood pressure,
  • Diseases of the heart valves,
  • permanent cardiac arrhythmia (fluttering heartbeat),
  • congenital heart disease,
  • Diabetes,
  • Diseases of the heart muscle.

From the accompanying symptom to an independent syndrome

The doctors explain that the understanding of heart failure has changed in recent years from an accompanying symptom of the underlying heart disease to an independent syndrome. Heart failure itself can sometimes have serious consequences for organs as well as severely impair the quality of life and life expectancy of patients. The mortality rate in advanced heart failure is comparable to that of some serious tumor diseases, the experts said.

Treating heart failure is a top priority

In recent years, many cardiology specialists have made it a top priority to treat cardiovascular patients with comprehensive heart failure treatment. In the past, the causes of heart failure were decisive, but now they are increasingly taking a back seat. One of the primary goals of treatment is currently to avoid a critical deterioration ("decompensation") with the need to stay in hospital for stabilization ("recompensation"). According to the doctors, these incidents would lead to further restrictions on the heart's reserve capacity.

Supraregional heart center is said to improve treatment

The German Heart Center Berlin, the Clinic for Internal Medicine with a focus on cardiology as well as the Clinic for Pediatrics with a focus on cardiology on the campus Virchow Clinic of the Charité have developed a concept for the joint care of patients with severe heart failure. Experience, state-of-the-art equipment and expertise are combined here in the immediate vicinity. Regardless of the age of the patient and the cause and severity of heart failure, the best possible treatment can be ensured here.

Extensive range

The certified clinic offers treatment options for severe heart failure, "artificial heart" patients or heart transplants. The entire spectrum of modern therapy in cardiology, pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery is available for diagnosis and therapy. (vb)

Author and source information


Video: Heart Failure treatment approach at Northwell Health (August 2020).