Heart failure patient resources

  • Preparing for your visit
  • What do I bring to my appointment?
  • How do I find Tufts MC?
  • What accommodations are in or around Tufts MC?
  • Guide on how to take your heart failure medicines
  • Weight and vital signs tracking sheet

    Tufts Medicine Initiative for CardioVascular Care packetDownload our guide to Caring for your Heart- Living with Heart Failure


    Preparing for your appointment

    Preparing for your visit

    There’s a lot to think about before your initial visit, and some things you might not be aware of. Please be sure to take care of the following matters before your arrival at Tufts Medical Center as it will help alleviate unnecessary stress the day(s) of your visit.

    1. Referral requirement
      Some insurance plans may require you to obtain a referral from your primary care physician in order to see our Advanced Heart Failure team. If this applies to you and your referral isn’t in place prior to your appointment, your insurance company can deny payment, leaving you with the bill. We want to help you prevent this from happening. If you’re unsure about your insurance plan’s referral requirement, contact the member service number located on your insurance card to find out. Once you have received your referral letter, please fax it to us at 617-636-6030 or call us at 617-636-8068 to coordinate emailing us a scanned copy.
    2. Hospital registration
      If you have never been to Tufts Medical Center before, you will need to call the hospital’s registration line at 888-636-0084 to register yourself as a new patient prior to your appointment.
    3. Medical records
      Before your arrival, our administrative team will compile all medical records your referring physician sends us. However, please be sure to call us before your appointment at 617-636-8068 to confirm all your records have been received—your appointment may be delayed if we do not have them. This includes print-outs as well as discs of any previous testing you’ve had, including Holter monitor reports, echocardiograms, stress tests, cardiac catheterizations and/or cardiac MRI results.
    4. Testing preparation
    • If you are having an cardiopulmonary exercise test as part of your testing, please do not take any heart medications that day and do not eat or drink 4 hours before the test. It is best to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and sneakers.

    • If you are having an MRI, please do not drink caffeine that day. If you are claustrophobic and choose to take a sedative for the exam, you will need to procure the medication through your primary care physician as well as coordinate a relative or friend to drive you home after testing.
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    What do I need to bring to my appointment?

    Your first visit to the the CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center entails a detailed exchange of information. Once you’ve made your appointment, please compile and bring with you:

    A list of your medications
    Medications are first-line therapy for patients with symptoms of heart failure. It’s extremely important for us to know what has worked for you and what has not. Such information helps us help you when considering treatment strategies.

    • Provide a list of all current and past medications, including how long you have been taking them, any recent changes in dosing and what medications you have tried in the past.
    • Tell us of any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, anti-depressants or herbal supple-ments you may be taking. (Some of our more potent heart medications may be considered unsafe when used in combination with certain anti-depressants and other over-the-counter medications.)
    • Note any medication allergies or drug intolerances.

    Your medical history

    • A list of your medical illnesses, prior hospitalizations and any previous surgeries
    • Any doctors’ notes
    • A written list of any and all symptoms you’re experiencing and how long you’ve had them—
      no matter how minor you believe them to be

    Your family history
    It is very helpful for us to know as many details as possible about your family history, including:

    • Do you have any family members with heart failure?
    • Is there a family history of unexplained and/or sudden cardiac death?
    • Do you have any family members with mysterious heart diseases and/or issues?

    A support person
    The person you bring with you can serve as a vital set of extra eyes and ears. In our experience, the friend or relative accompanying you often asks at least one important and relevant question or provides supplemental history or observational details that are of great help. This person can also:

    • Help you remember what previous doctors have told you
    • Be present to ask questions you may forget to ask
    • Serve as an interpreter
    • Serve as a note taker
    • Be a support system

    Personal items
    We recognize your visit can be nerve-racking and encourage you to bring personal items to make your experience more relaxed. Such items could include:

    • Reading material
    • iPad, laptop, cellphone (and associated chargers)
    • Snacks and water
    • Comfortable clothes (and sneakers if having a pulmonary exercise test)

    How do I find Tufts MC?

    How to Find Us by Car and Public Transportation
    Tufts Medical Center is easily accessible by car from the Massachusetts Turnpike (Route 90), the Central Artery and the Southeast Expressway (Route 93). The hospital is located in downtown Boston—in Chinatown and the Theater District—and within walking distance of the Boston Common, Downtown Crossing and many hotels and restaurants. The main entrance for patients and visitors at Tufts Medical Center is 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111. Telephone driving directions are available by calling 617-636-5000, ext. 5. For more about our Locations + Directions >

    What is accommodations are in or around Tufts MC? 

    We know that driving into downtown Boston for medical care can be intimidating, especially if you and your friends or family have to stay overnight. That's why we've provided an accommodations guide for patients and families who need to find lodging nearby. View our accommodations >