Dr. Amit Khosla Patient Communication Platform

Dr. Khosla manages heart failure services at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Jim Pattison Outpatient Services Centre. He is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and is involved in the development and delivery of the medical undergraduate curriculum.

Differentiating Between COPD and Heart Failure in Patients

Shortness of breath is a common feature of both heart failure and COPD. Complicating matters further is the fact that many patients with COPD will have heart failure and vice versa. So oftentimes it’s really challenging for the physician and for the patient to know whether their dysthymia is due to heart failure, COPD or both.

Many patients with COPD also have heart disease. It’s estimated that about four in ten COPD patients have a concomitant heart failure disorder. And both of these conditions cause shortness of breath, so diagnostically it may be very hard for you and your doctors to separate out COPD from heart failure—what’s causing what.

The Treatment of Heart Failure

The treatment for heart failure really depends on what type of heart failure you have—whether it’s a problem with the pumping function of the heart or the relaxing function of the heart. And the medications we use to treat patients will really depend on these factors. It may also depend on what the cause of the heart failure is.

Regardless of what the cause of your heart failure is, or what type of heart failure you have, one thing that we recommend for all our patients is lifestyle modification. Focusing around making good choices with respect to diet, salt, fluid restriction, as well as engaging in a structured exercise program to improve your overall cardiovascular well-being.

Diagnosing and Screening Genetic Heart Conditions

Several conditions require an evaluation cardiogenetic. First, different types of cardiomyopathy, or heart muscle disorders. These include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, some forms of familial cardiomyopathies, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

There are also some electric problems of the heart that require an evaluation. These include Brugada syndrome, long QT syndrome among other arrhythmic problems, and also some forms of familial sudden death. There are also some cholesterol problems that need evaluation, as well as some aortic problems.

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