Cardiomyopathy (Congestive Heart Failure) Clinic

If you have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, it means your heart muscle has been weakened by disease and cannot adequately pump blood through the heart.

Many patients with congestive heart failure need care from multiple specialties (for example, electrophysiologists who can help with the arrhythmia, cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists who specialize in seeing heart failure patients) which is a major reason we are a nationally renowned heart center. One of our advantages is that we have multiple specialties who work together to take care of patients. Other members of the clinical team include a nurse contact, dietetic specialists to help with diet, and cardiac rehabilitation experts to help with exercise.

We are the only hospital in Iowa that offers the latest in LVAD (heart pump technology) and we were named a destination therapy center in 2010. This means that patients who are not candidates for transplants can have us put in a heart pump so that they can live a longer life. We also are the only place in the state offering heart transplants.

There are three types of cardiomyopathy:

  • Dilated is the most common. The left ventricle becomes enlarged and does not pump as efficiently.
  • Hypertrophic means there is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle affecting the heart's ability to pump blood, making the heart work harder.
  • Restrictive means the heart becomes rigid and can't properly fill with blood between heartbeats.

Diagnostic steps may include

  • Discovery during a routine checkup
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Blood tests

The type of treatment depends on the type of cardiomyopathy

  • Medication including ACE-inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, aldosterone blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Implantable rhythm control device
  • LVAD - ventricular assist device - Our congestive heart failure program has been named a destination therapy center for LVAD by the Joint Commission. We are the first and only program in Iowa with this designation. We can offer this technology not only for those patients awaiting a transplant but for other heart failure patients as well.
  • Ablation
  • Heart transplant
  • Stem cell therapy

Our specialists have participated in clinical research that has resulted in the currently approved therapies. We continue to participate in clinical studies to determine how to combine current medications and to look for new treatment options. You may be eligible to participate in a trial of new therapies. Learn more about our cardiomyopathy clinical trials.

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