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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood is weaker than normal, resulting in inadequate circulation of blood around the body. Eventually, heart failure may lead to the breakdown of other vital organs due to this inadequate blood flow. The primary risk factors/causes for heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Internet Resources

American Heart Association
This national organization provides information on heart failure and a multitude of resources for heart patients.

Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Comprised of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, cardiovascular anesthesiologists, specialists in cardiac behavioral medicine, radiologists, and dietitians, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides innovative care for all aspects of cardiovascular diseases and conditions, including heart failure.

MedlinePlus: Heart Failure
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public.


  • American Medical Association guide to preventing and treating heart disease. Lipsky MS, et al. 2008.
  • Cleveland Clinic guide to heart failure. Starling RC. 2009.
  • Coping with chronic illness: overcoming powerlessness. Fitzgerald Miller J. 2000.
  • Gale encyclopedia of medicine. Longe JL, ed. 2006. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or online at http://www.nmh.org/nmh/hlc/main.htm.
  • Human heart: a basic guide to heart disease. Phibbs B. 2007.
  • Success with heart failure: help and hope for those with congestive heart failure. Silver MA. 2006.


Search our collection for additional resources on heart failure.

Journal Articles

  • “A personal approach to heart failure.” Harvard Heart Letter, 20(8):4. April 2010.
  • “Heart failure in women.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 16(1):3–5. September 2008.
  • “Living well with heart failure.” Diabetes Self-Management, 26(4):36+. July–Aug. 2009.
  • “Mindfulness helps ease heart failure." Harvard Heart Letter, 19(9):7. May 2009.
  • “Omega-3s stand out in preventing and treating heart disease.” Duke Medicine Health News, 16(2):1–2. February 2010.
  • “Stay lean and active in older age.” Duke Medicine Health News, 15(4):7–8. April 2009.
  • “Treating heart disease with stem cells.” Duke Medicine Health News. Suppl:4–5. 2008.


  • Heart Failure: Getting Started With Treatment. 13 min.
  • Heart Failure: Understanding Your Medications. 11 min.
  • Heart Failure: Eating to Feel Better. 14 min.
  • Heart Failure: Staying Active. 10 min.
  • Heart Failure: Learning to Cope. 11 min.
  • Heart Failure: Getting Ready to Leave the Hospital. 8 min.


  • Heart Chambers, Valves, and Vessels Model with Anatomical Chart.


Mended Hearts Organization
888.HEART99 (888.432.7899)
A national support group for heart patients, Mended Hearts has been offering the gift of hope and encouragement to heart patients, their families and caregivers for more than fifty years.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateMarch 15, 2012