Heart Hospital, a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has opened an Advanced Heart Failure Unit (AHF) to provide specialised multi-disciplinary care for people living with advanced heart failure.

The unit also hopes to equip patients with the support they need to be able to better manage their condition.

According to Cardiology Consultant and Director of HMC’s Advanced Heart Failure Program, Dr Amr Badr, the AHF Unit is installed with state-of-the-art equipment and offers clinic consultations, diagnostic tools such as electrocardiography (ECG) and X-ray, assessment and re-assessment, short stay admission, pharmacy counseling, patient education, inpatient consultation and education, and home telemonitoring services. Home telemonitoring is an innovative and promising approach that allows the healthcare team to remotely monitor a patient’s vital signs and general condition while the patient is at home, thereby reducing the need for hospital visits. Besides the treatment regimen, the multi-disciplinary team provides education and support to help patients adhere to a healthy lifestyle and improve their quality of life.

Dr Badr commended the exceptional work of his team in the development of the AHF unit. noting that the number of heart failure patients seeking care at Heart Hospital has increased from only 68 patients in 2012 to 1,278 patients in 2014, he said:

We had our soft opening in March this year, and are looking forward to further developing our services to ensure we provide the best possible care for our increasing number of patients.’

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition where the heart is unable to pump out enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the body’s needs, resulting in occasional fatigue, shortness of breath and other symptoms that would prompt a hospital visit. This can be caused by conditions such as coronary artery disease (narrowed arteries in the heart), high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Heart failure in its early stages can often be managed with medication and a healthy lifestyle. However, as the disease progresses, the heart becomes weaker, and treatment becomes more complex. Professor William McKenna, CEO and Medical Director of Heart Hospital said this highlights the need for advanced heart failure care that is linked to an integrated heart failure program within the hospital.

Director of Nursing at Heart Hospital, Catherine Marshall, praised the energy and enthusiasm of the team behind the clinic, particularly the nurses under the leadership of Head Nurse for the Unit, Hajer Abdulla. Marshall said:

The AHF Unit plays a significant role in attending to the patients’ physical, emotional and psychological needs, and in bettering their quality of life. We have some of the most outstanding professionals working in this department as a strong, cohesive heart healthcare team, who are committed to making the patient experience the best it can be.’

The Heart Hospital is one of the eight hospitals HMC manages, incorporating five specialist hospitals and three community hospitals. HMC also manages the National Ambulance Service as well as home and residential care, all accredited by Joint Commission International. HMC has been the principal public healthcare provider in the state of Qatar for over three decades. HMC collaborates with partners who are key experts in Qatar and beyond, including Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Partners Healthcare, Boston.