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The Advanced Heart Failure Program at BIDMC brings together a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who are experts in diagnosing and treating for all stages of heart failure using the latest advances.
Heart failure develops when the heart has weakened or become too stiff to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It is a chronic condition but can be treated and managed.
Depending on your condition, treatments might include medications, implanted devices or surgery. We also offer services such as nutritional and social work consults and outpatient intravenous infusions, as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation and palliative care.
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you, and will examine your heart, lungs, abdomen, and legs. To confirm a diagnosis of heart failure, the Advanced Heart Failure team conducts the following tests:
Blood Tests. Tests may look for biomarkers that are released by the heart when it is overburdened.
Imaging Tests. From MRIs and CT scans to EKGs and echocardiograms, Cardiovascular Imaging helps determine how well the heart is pumping and monitors the effectiveness of your treatment.
Although heart failure is a chronic, lasting condition, medications can often reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life. Members of the Advanced Heart Failure team may prescribe any of the following medications to manage your condition:
Angiotensin neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs) reduce some of the damaging long-term effects of heart failure, such as increased blood pressure and hardening of your arteries
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help your heart pump more blood and reduce blood pressure
Beta blockers reduce blood pressure
Diuretics help your body eliminate excess fluids and salt that often build up as a result of heart failure
The CDAc provides you immediate care for non-life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. This option allows you to bypass the emergency room and gives you direct access to an attending cardiovascular physician with less wait and expense.
Specialized devices placed inside your body can manage advanced heart failure by regulating your heart beat, pumping blood throughout your body, or even tracking your vital signs to improve your treatment. BIDMC’s Advanced Heart Failure Program can treat various heart failure symptoms with a range of devices: Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs) are implantable devices that detect life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and correct them by delivering a jolt of electricity.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) involves implanting a biventricular pacemaker to send timed electrical impulses to the heart's lower chambers (the ventricles), helping them to pump in a synchronized manner.
Durable Ventricular Assist Devices are mechanical pumps which are fully surgically implanted in the chest to assist your heart’s pumping abilities. They provide improvement in symptoms if you have advanced heart failure that has not responded to medical management. If you receive one of these devices, you will be discharged home with it.
The BIDMC VAD program is a multidisciplinary team of heart failure cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurse coordinators, social workers, nutritionists, pharmacists, infectious disease specialists, anesthesiologists, and palliative care specialists who provide world class care for patients with end stage heart failure who require advanced heart failure therapies.
Percutaneous ventricular assist devices are temporary assist devices that are percutaneously placed in the catheterization lab and require inpatient admission. These include impella CP, impella RP, and impella 5.0 devices. These are important treatment options for patients with advanced heart failure and cardiogenic shock awaiting more durable options.
Heart valve surgery, to repair defective or diseased heart valves. This includes minimally invasive mitral valve repair to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. During this procedure, a device called a MitraClip is implanted through a catheter. This device functions in place of the damaged mitral valve. The procedure helps alleviate the feeling of fatigue or breathlessness that frequently results from a damaged mitral valve.
The Advanced Heart Failure Program provides a dedicated inpatient hospital unit if you require inpatient care. Our unit is staffed by our expert team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, along with nurses and nurse practitioners with specialized skills to care for heart failure conditions.
Our Advanced Heart Failure experts conducts full cardiac transplantation evaluations for the most severe cases of heart failure. We work jointly with the Cardiac Transplant Center at Tufts Medical Center, the most active heart transplant program in New England and among the most active nationwide. Our team will continue to manage your ongoing treatment after your transplant surgery.
Advanced Heart Failure Program Wins Quality Award
The CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC has received prestigious recognition for quality in the care of hospitalized patients with heart failure through the American Heart Association's "Get With the Guidelines" program.