Heart failure

Clinical nurse specialists (Royal Brompton)

  • Laura Fallon
  • Hayley Pryse-Hawkins
  • Vicki Chambers

Clinical nurse specialists (Harefield) 

  • Marcia Singleton
  • Alison Watson

The heart failure clinical nurse specialists (CNS) run the rapid access heart function clinic at Harefield Hospital alongside a consultant cardiologist. At the clinic, the team assesses patients who have been referred by their GP with symptoms of possible heart failure. This is a “one-stop shop” where patients have their heart function investigated on the day, with diagnostic aids of echocardiogram, chest X-ray, ECG, and blood tests, particularly a BNP*.

Patients are then given a diagnosis of heart failure or not. If they have developed heart failure, a management plan will be communicated to themselves and their GP. If their symptoms are not heart failure, they will be directed to another pathway to help their symptoms.

Marcia and Alison see patients on the ward who have been admitted with heart failure. They make sure they are taking the correct medication and help them with their symptoms, assisting them to self-manage their long-term illness. They also run a nurse-led heart failure clinic where patients are seen regularly and supported to manage their disease to prevent hospital admissions. 

A clinic is also provided for patients who have an impaired heart function after a myocardial infarction (heart attack). The nursing team optimises their medication and assesses them for possible devices they may require in the future.

The heart failure CNSs work closely with other specialist teams, particularly the community heart failure teams, the palliative care team, the cardiac rehabilitation team and the devices clinical nurse specialist as many patients with heart failure require an implantable device in the future.

* BNP stands for brain natriuretic peptide, and a BNP test measures the amount of BNP in the blood to help specialists diagnose and monitor heart failure.