Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Healthcare from the heart of your community

Heart failure

Heart failure affects more than 750,000 people in the UK.

What is heart failure and what are the symptoms?

If the muscles in your heart become weak or stiff they may struggle to pump enough blood around your body – this can lead to heart failure.

Symptoms can include breathlessness, extreme tiredness and ankle swelling. Experiencing these symptoms does not mean that you are suffering from heart failure; there are often other reasons for them. If the symptoms are extreme, appear suddenly or are causing you pain or concern, they could be signs of heart failure and you should seek medical advice.

You can find detailed information about symptoms, causes and forms of heart failure here.

How we help you

If you are affected by heart failure our dedicated heart failure team can help support you in a number of ways. Our specialist nurses work within your community to look after you at home or in a clinic close to you.

They work with you to improve symptom control, advise you on medication and show you how to manage your condition as easily as possible.

Our nurses advise and support patients who are approaching the advanced stage of their disease and work closely with consultant cardiologists and consultants in our palliative care team.

Your initial appointment will usually last an hour. During your visit you will learn about the signs and symptoms of heart failure and how to deal with them. The specially trained nurses will perform some basic assessments, such as taking your blood pressure and recording your weight, so that they can monitor your progress. They will make some recommendations about how to manage your condition through diet and exercise.

During your first visit you will be told what happens next and the nurses will remain in contact until you are well enough to manage alone or be discharged back to the care to your GP.

Sometimes it is appropriate for you to monitor your condition yourself. If this is the case, you may be provided with a telehealth monitor. This equipment enables you to take readings such as your pulse and blood pressure at home, and automatically alerts the heart failure team if something is of concern.

Our dedicated heart failure service works alongside you to improve your quality of life, by helping you manage the symptoms of heart failure in the way that is best for you.

Need more information?

Our Heart Failure service in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire
Information about your service if you live in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire

Our Heart Failure service in Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot
Information about your service if you live in Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot

Information about telehealth - an easy to use piece of equipment which helps patients with long term illnesses manage their condition at home.