Heart failure is a treatable condition
As frightening as heart failure sounds, it doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working—it means your heart isn’t working as well as it should. In fact, you can have heart failure without ever suffering a heart attack.
In heart failure, you may experience difficulty pumping blood, because the heart is too weak or too stiff, and the heart, organs and tissues receive an inadequate supply of blood. It may be harder for you to do things that were easy in the past.
The multidisciplinary cardiovascular team at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas is committed to you and your heart health. We're here to help you understand more about heart failure and what you can do about it. The team here at our Dallas heart hospital is ready to work with you and your healthcare provider.
Heart failure treatment options include:
Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
When the heart is unable to pump blood, a patient may benefit from a surgically implanted pump placed in the chest known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). This device can be used as a substitute to help the heart work more efficiently, supplementing the heart's pumping ability to improve blood flow. An LVAD supports a weakened or diseased left ventricle, the heart's most muscular chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood out of the heart and throughout the entire body. A left ventricular assist device may be necessary if heart failure progresses to the point where medicines and other treatments no longer help. The LVAD consists of a tube connected to the left ventricle, a pump and another tube connected to the aorta. As the left ventricle fills with blood, it flows through the tube and into the internal pump, which pushes it forcefully out into the aorta.
A battery-powered mechanical device, the left ventricular assist device is connected to a computer controller and power supply outside of the body; a belt or harness holding these external items may be given to the patient to wear. The most commonly used LVADs are the size of a compact disc (CD), although newer versions may be much smaller. Surgeons at our heart hospital in Dallas use left ventricular assist devices for heart failure or during the period prior to a heart transplant.
Total artificial heart
Cardiac replacement using a total artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation is possible through services provided at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular – Dallas and Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health.
The total artificial heart is a blood pump that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage heart failure by replacing both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. Patients must meet certain criteria to be suitable candidates for heart surgeons to implant a total artificial heart.
Cardiac transplantation, commonly called a heart transplant, is surgically replacing a patient's irreversibly damaged heart with a healthy heart donated from another person. A heart transplant is for individuals with end-stage heart disease who do not respond to any other form of therapy. Dallas heart transplant doctors follow strict medical guidelines to qualify and select potential heart recipients.
According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 50% of those on the waiting must wait more than five years from their listing date to receive a transplant. At Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, collaborative relationships with other transplant centers and heart failure centers enable dual listing at two or more centers to reduce the wait time for heart transplant candidates. Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas has one of the shortest wait times in the country for a heart transplant—a 1A status wait time is eight days and status 1B is less than two weeks.
At Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, we’re here with you every step of the way during the heart transplant process. Find out more about what to expect during a heart transplant in Dallas.
Over six million people a year live with heart failure, and only about 2,200 receive a new heart each year. Since 2014, the Heart-to-Heart Program at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas reminds heart transplant patients of their great fortune by inviting them back to see and hold their former heart, while educating them on caring for their new one.