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Heart Failure Treatment

When symptoms of heart failure worsen despite lifestyle changes and medication, you may be diagnosed with advanced heart failure. About 10 percent of the 5.7 million Americans living with heart failure have advanced heart failure – stage D according to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology’s A-to-D staging system. Treatment for advanced heart failure is more complex, involving the implantation of devices or, when all other treatments are no longer effective, heart transplantation.

Ventricular Assist Devices 

Life-saving and therapeutic, ventricular assist devices (VADs) are implantable mechanical circulatory devices that help pump blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the body. VADs are designed to partially or completely replace the functions of a failing heart in patients with severe heart failure, either as a bridge to heart transplantation or as a long-term destination treatment for those who cannot receive a transplant. Most often, VADs are designed to assist the left ventricle of the heart (LVAD), but devices may also be used to assist the right ventricle (RVAD) or both ventricles (BiVAD). VADs significantly ease the burden on the heart and other organs, providing a higher survival rate and better quality of life.

Total Artificial Heart

Despite growing demand, only approximately 2,200 donor hearts become available each year in the United States. When a donor heart is unavailable and both cardiac ventricles fail, a temporary SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is used as a bridge to transplantation and can eliminate the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. As soon as patients are stabilized following surgery, they are returned to the active transplant list.

Heart Transplantation

When all other treatments for heart failure have been unsuccessful, physicians may refer a patient for heart transplant. Advanced heart failure is staged on a four-point scale; as severity increases, patients enter stage four or end-stage heart failure, making them eligible for transplantation. Once transplant candidates have undergone a thorough screening process, they are placed on the national transplant list and monitored while awaiting a donor heart. If the transplant candidate’s condition begins to decline, intravenous medications, total artificial heart or ventricle assist device implantation may be recommended until a donor heart is available.

Contact Us

The heart specialists practicing at the Center for Advanced Heart Failure at the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center

are leaders in the management and diagnosis of heart failure, especially in the case of more complex disease. With appropriate medical and surgical intervention and healthy lifestyle habits, patients with heart failure can continue to live full and productive lives.

Specialists at the Center for Advanced Heart Failure at the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center provide treatment for more complex cases, including medical management, percutaneous interventions and surgery.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, fill out the form to the right or call (713) 704-4300.