Congestive Heart Failure

The heart failure program at Fletcher Allen treats a range of a heart disease conditions

Learn how Fletcher Allen's Dr. Philip Ades led the effort to get Medicare to cover cardiac rehab for millions. Read the article in the Wall Street Journal.

Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart muscle can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. The heart is too weak or stiff to pump or fill with blood efficiently. Congestive heart failure often develops after other conditions, such as coronary artery disease (narrowed heart arteries) or high blood pressure, have damaged or weakened your heart muscle.

Congestive Heart Failure: What You Need to Know


Congestive heart failure cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented. The key to effective congestive heart failure prevention is to control risk factors and conditions such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.


Congestive heart failure is best managed by a group of specialists that include:

Also, all aspects of cardiac care at Fletcher Allen are supported by a team of knowledgeable and skilled nurses and other health care practitioners. These caring professionals are instrumental in providing you with the highest quality care available, and the support you need.

Personalized Care

We provide internationally known heart failure experts who bring innovative therapies to patients and families every day. Our skilled team of cardiologists offers years of experience in cardiac medicine, and a strong commitment to personalized care to meet your unique needs. Our Heart Failure Program offers comprehensive disease management that is tailored to each patient.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

Fletcher Allen is one of nine medical centers selected nationally to participate in the National Institutes of Health Heart Failure Research Network; a clinical research organization performing studies that allow patients to receive advanced treatments free of charge. As a university hospital, patients benefit from this collaborative, coordinated approach to heart care, backed by research-based expertise. We offer inpatient consultation services, and for patients diagnosed and living with heart failure, we offer comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation services and education classes.

Request an appointment online with a Fletcher Allen Cardiologist or call 802-847-4600.

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure can affect one or both sides of the heart and may mean your heart fails to pump normally, fails to fill normally, or both.

Chronic heart failure is a long-term condition that develops over time, requiring on-going management and treatment.

Acute heart failure is an emergency situation requiring immediate care.

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Congestive heart failure symptoms vary slightly whether they are chronic or acute heart failure. Chronic symptoms are comparable to acute, but acute symptoms can be more severe and start or get worse suddenly.

  • Shortness of breath when you exercise or lie down
  • Fatique or weakness
  • Swelling in your abdomen, legs, ankles and feet 
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations) 
  • Difficulty doing physical activity 
  • Frequent cough or wheezing with white or pink foamy mucus 
  • Sudden fluid buildup 
  • Lack of appetite and nausea 
  • Difficulty concentrating or reduced alertness 
  • Chest pain

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you are experiencing chest pain as it could be a heart attack.

Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosis and Treatment

At Fletcher Allen, University of Vermont Medical Group cardiologists who specialize in heart failure thoroughly assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis.

Patients with congestive heart failure are often first treated by a general cardiologist. We offer a team of excellent, experienced general cardiologists who will work with you at our conveniently located outpatient facility in South Burlington to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Learn more about congestive heart failure treatment.

Request an appointment online with a Fletcher Allen Cardiologist or call 802-847-4600.

Trust Your Heart To Our Heart Failure Experts

What does all of this mean to you as a patient? It means you have access to some of the best cardiac care available in the country provided by nationally renowned specialists, right here in Vermont.

Related Documents

Fletcher Allen's Heart Failure Program Brochure Download PDF

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