Heart failure

An overview of Providence Health Care's services and resources for patients living with heart failure.


In a healthy heart, the heart pumps blood with oxygen to every part of the body. If you have heart failure, your heart muscle is weakened or your heart cannot fill up with enough blood. This means your heart can't pump the amount of blood your body needs. Heart failure is a serious condition and it can affect your other organs.

Some symptoms of heart failure may include:

  • Swelling (also called edema) in the feet, ankles, legs, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Chest pain

Some people worry that ‘failure’ means the heart has stopped beating. This is not true. Your heart keeps working, but it can’t pump hard enough to get the blood and oxygen needed to all parts of your body.

Some causes of heart failure are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Damage to your heart muscle, such as from a heart attack
  • Heart valve problems
  • Disease of the heart
  • Infection of the heart muscle or heart valves
It is estimated that about 750,000 Canadians are living with heart failure.

Source: Heart & Stroke Foundation

The Providence heart team will work with you to manage your heart failure symptoms. We provide expert and compassionate care, from testing to diagnosis to management. We’ll also help you with the tools you need to make necessary lifestyle changes.


Diagnosis & testing

Tests that may be used to diagnose and monitor heart failure include:

Treatment & management

Conditions like heart failure can be managed. We have specialized clinics that will direct your care as well as a number of surgeries and procedures that can be used to help you stay well and be well.

Clinics that manage heart failure

Related surgeries & procedures

Related conditions


Support services

Providence Health Care offers a variety of services to support those we care for. The following services may be of use or benefit to you and your families.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Wellness Liaison Team is here to support your health journey. Team members offer cultural support and healthcare advocacy. Learn more below or call them at 604-682-2344,62937 or email IWL@providencehealth.bc.ca.

  • Indigenous wellness services

    The Indigenous Wellness Team at Providence is available to support Indigenous patients and their families. We are here to coordinate culturally safe wellness supports and services.

Education & resources

Useful resources

Online patient communities

Many people living with heart failure find it helpful to join online communities of other people with the same or similar condition. Providence Health Care does not and cannot endorse these communities. Rather, we are providing these links as resources of note for you to consider.

Clinical trials & research

Advances in heart-related treatments are all thanks to medical research. While participating in research is a decision you should make for yourself in consultation with your care team, there is much activity in this area so please ask us about our research programs if you’re interested.

By taking part in research, you can help us all learn more about heart failure and find better ways to help people like you live and thrive with the condition. While you cannot assume benefit to yourself, your participation can make a difference in improving care for future patients.

The following clinical trials are currently enrolling volunteers. Please ask your care team for more information or contact the research team listed on each study or trial. For other information about research at Providence Health Care, please visit Providence Research.

Donate to support us

St. Paul’s Hospital is the lifeline for British Columbians living with heart disease: we are the provincial referral centre for BC and Yukon’s most complex cardiac cases. We appreciate your support.

St. Paul's Foundation

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