Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Heart failure affects nearly six million Americans and is one of the most common causes of hospitalization for people 65 and older.  It occurs when the heart muscle is too weak to pump blood efficiently, too stiff to fill with blood, or both.  Conditions such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, problems with heart valves or abnormal heart rhythms, obesity or alcohol/drug abuse can lead to heart failure.

Treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure, along with lifestyle changes such as exercising, reducing salt intake, and controlling conditions such as high blood pressure and Diabetes.    

Signs & Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying down
  • Swelling (edema) in your legs, feet, ankles or abdomen
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Increased cough
  • Weight gain from fluid buildup (especially 2 pounds overnight or 3-4 pounds in a week)

Managing your heart failure

  • Weigh yourself every morning before breakfast & keep track of your weight.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. If you have questions about your medications contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. 
  • Keep all appointments with your healthcare provider.
  • Follow a low sodium diet and avoid salty foods.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. 
  • Track your daily fluid intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight & stay physically active.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol & caffeine consumption.
  • If you smoke and you need help quitting, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Attend heart failure educational sessions (T-Time)
  • Talk with your healthcare provider if you experience fear, anxiety or depression.

Medications used to treat heart failure

  • Diuretics (fluid pills) - help reduce the fluid buildup in your lungs, feet and ankles.
  • ACE inhibitors/ARBs - lower blood pressure and decrease the heart’s workload.
  • Beta Blockers - slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure to decrease your heart’s workload.
  • Aldosterone antagonists - are potassium-sparing diuretics that  help the body get rid of salt and water through urine.  This lowers the volume of blood that the heart must pump.
  • Digoxin - helps the heart beat stronger and pump more blood.

Medical Devices

If you have heart damage and severe symptoms, your provider might recommend a cardiac resynchronization therapy device (pacemaker) or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

Additional Support

Palliative Medicine - Palliative Medicine improves the quality of life for patients and families facing serious, progressive illnesses. 

Cardiac Rehabilitation is also available for qualifying patients. 

Nutrition Services are also available.  Consultations with our registered dietitians provides current medical and scientific nutrition information as well as counseling strategies to help patients meet their individual goals.

Lourdes at Home - Our Home Care Nurses can provide follow up care in your home and with our Telehealth .  

T-Time Support Group - Check our calendar for upcoming dates and times.


LOURDES Hospital | 169 Riverside Drive • Binghamton, NY 13905 | Phone: 607-798-5111 / Directory | Email: