Comprehensive care for the sickest of the sick
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More serious cases of heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, call for special treatment. Our Advanced Heart Failure Program is known for its innovation in heart failure treatments, alleviating symptoms and adding quality years to the lives of patients across the spectrum of the disease.
Our doctors implanted the first HeartWare left ventricular assist device (LVAD), in the country and performed the first heart transplant in the District of Columbia. We continue to improve on these procedures while aggressively pursuing even more effective therapies. Our doctors often design, lead and take part in clinical trials, giving our patients early access to emerging, promising therapies such as inotropes. These are strong medications designed to treat advanced heart failure by changing the force of the heart’s contractions. Sending patients home on these medications is only done at select programs like ours.
At the core of our program is our team of more than 75 professionals, unrivaled in the mid-Atlantic region for our scope of services, quality of care and outcomes. The team includes not only heart doctors and surgeons but also nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, financial counselors and social workers as part of our patient support program. We’re also one of the first advanced heart failure programs to integrate palliative care along every step of treatment for a personalized, holistic team approach that provides ongoing support for patients and their families.
International pioneers in ventricular assist devices
We are an international leader in developing and perfecting ventricular assist devices (VAD). These mechanical circulatory assist devices help pump blood from the ventricles to the rest of the body. We have been involved in virtually every important new VAD development since the inception of the device.
One of the most common types of VAD is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Our doctors have been performing LVAD procedures since 1988, and we were among the first four hospitals in the world to perform this surgery.
Ventricular assist devices can be used until a patient’s heart becomes strong enough to pump on its own, while waiting for a heart transplant or if the patient is not a good candidate for a heart transplant. Our program is among the nation’s busiest VAD sites, giving our surgeons unmatched experience.
National leaders in heart transplants
Our doctors performed the first heart transplant in the region in 1987, and our program has since performed more than 250 of these lifesaving surgeries. We are one of five programs nationwide that are researching noninvasive methods to assess patients for the potential of heart transplant rejection.
A patient’s transplant team may include cardiothoracic surgeons, advanced heart failure cardiologists, cardiac intensivists, transplant coordinators, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, nutritionists or other dedicated staff members with transplant expertise.
Advanced Heart Failure Patient Support
Our unique patient support program for advanced heart failure patients offers the resources you need to optimize your medical care and improve your quality of life.