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Congestive Heart Failure – Follow-Up Testing

December 17, 2020


“It’s very important to follow up with your primary care doctor regularly in order to monitor your risk factors for heart failure. Now, it’s really important over time to be tested usually annually for heart failure or symptoms of heart failure. Now the symptoms of heart failure typically manifest as shortness of breath. Your doctor can do a lot of further testing in order to diagnose heart failure. Usually the first test that’s done is an EKG. An EKG or electrocardiogram is where there’s leads that are placed over your chest. And over a ten second period, the doctor can look at if there’s any changes in your rhythm of your heart, this can give you some clues into the size of your heart and other abnormalities that may be associated with it. If the doctor does see abnormalities, the next step would be to get an echocardiogram or an ultrasound of your heart.

This will help to look at the size of your heart, the wall motion of your heart, as well as the movement of the valves in your heart. Your doctor will also do various blood tests. One test that can measure whether there’s extra volume in your body is called a BNP or brain natriuretic peptide. A high level of this is a common diagnostic marker for heart failure. You’ll get results for your EKG pretty much right away as it can be seen. As soon as it’s being done, your echocardiogram may take a little bit longer to be done as it will need to be read by a cardiologist. And your doctor can give you the results, either over the phone or at your next appointment. Your blood tests usually will take about a day or so to come back. And your doctor can give you the results over again, over the phone, or at your next appointment if your symptoms are not too severe,”

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