Featured Speaker Heart Beat Now
Heart failure is a great masquerader, and patients can present with any number of symptoms. I would suggest the most common, however, is shortness of breath. That’s because patients will develop fluid in their lungs as a complication of heart failure, and that leads to shortness of breath.
That fluid can build up in other parts of the body as well, though: in your feet, leading to edema, or swelling of the feet; in your tummy, leading to abdominal bloating or ascites; patients may have difficulty breathing when they go to bed at night and have to prop themselves up on pillows.
So a lot of changes around breathing and feeling short of breath. If patients aren’t getting enough oxygen or blood going to their muscles or other tissues, they may get fatigued. Other patients will be foggy or may not be thinking clearly because they’re not getting enough blood going to their brain. Again, changes in your breathing may be an important symptom of developing or worsening heart failure.
Presenter: Dr. Sean Virani, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC
Local Practitioners: Cardiologist
Sean A. Virani, MD MSc MPH FRCPC FCCS Head | Division of Cardiology | Providence Health Care Physician Program Director | The HEART Centre | St. Paul’s Hospital Associate Professor | Department of Medicine | University of British Columbia Senior Medical Advisor | Cardiac Services BC President | Canadian Heart Failure Society Medical Director | HeartLife Foundation
Dr. Sean Virani is founding Director of the Heart Failure and Cardiology-Oncology Programs at Vancouver General Hospital, Regional Director of Heart Failure Services for Vancouver Coastal Health/Providence Health Care, Heart Failure Physician Lead for Cardiac Services BC and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
He completed his internal medicine and cardiology training at UBC before embarking on a sub-specialization in heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Stanford University. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University with a focus on healthcare management. His professional interests include public policy related to health care delivery with specific reference to access, capacity and quality in the Canadian context.
He serves on the executive of the Canadian Heart Failure Society, the Canadian Heart Failure Guidelines Committee and chairs the Ministry of Health/Doctors of BC Practice Support Program for Heart Failure.
Lay summary of program/project: Heart Failure is a leading cause of hospitalization, health care utilization and mortality among Canadians. Paramount to improving outcomes for this at-risk patient population is ensuring that guideline based treatments with established efficacy are integrated into practice consistently. Dr. Virani’s research focusses on strategies to ensure optimal penetration of evidence based treatments for heart failure through healthcare systems evaluation and redesign. It is anticipated that one-half of heart failure related hospitalizations can be averted through both enhanced care processes and application of best practices. In the long run, we believe that this will translate to improved longevity and quality of life for patients suffering from this debilitating chronic disease state.
Medical summary of program/project: Dr. Virani’s research program is centred on improving the quality of heart failure health services delivery through (1) identifying care gaps, (2) application of evidence based therapies and (3) developing strategies to support systems redesign. His research activities are firmly grounded in the clinical realm and predicated on understanding the intricacies of care delivery and the nature of the patient’s journey through the healthcare system. In this context, his current research program seeks to (1) identify and describe the key patient features and system related barriers to uptake of evidence based therapies such as cardiac resynchronization therapy in hospitalized heart failure patients, (2) implement and leverage existing tele-health strategies to manage high-risk subsets of heart failure patients and (3) develop local registries to monitor and evaluate the use of emerging therapies to ensure high quality and cost-effective health services delivery.