Advanced Heart Failure/Mechanical Circulatory Support Program

Heart failure makes it hard for your heart to pump blood. Lehigh Valley Heart Institute has the region’s largest team of board-certified heart failure specialists. We offer the latest heart support devices and provide care for patients with complex heart problems.

Mechanical circulatory support devices, such as ventricular assist devices (VADs), are an effective heart failure treatment. They help your heart pump blood to the rest of your body.

A circulatory device can provide long-term heart support for patients who are not candidates for heart transplant or who opt out of this procedure. This approach is known as destination therapy.

When appropriate, we also use these devices to take over some of the heart’s pumping action in patients who are on a heart transplant list. This approach is known as bridge-to-transplant.

Anita was excited to be a grandmother but a heart condition made her too weak to hold her newborn grandson. A year later, her energy and stamina are back. Just in time too.

Heart failure treatment at Lehigh Valley Heart Institute

When you come to the Heart Institute for heart failure treatment, you benefit from:

Care for complex problems: We offer treatments for patients with complex cases of heart disease that many hospitals turn away.

Advanced diagnostics: We use sophisticated heart imaging tools to diagnose the cause, severity and prognosis of your heart problem.

Cardiac rehab: You can work with experts at our cardiac rehab program to strengthen your heart so you can enjoy life more fully.

Support services: Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease. Our heart failure team of nurses and advanced care providers can help you make heart-healthy lifestyle changes. We also offer ongoing care for people with heart support devices.

Comprehensive treatment options: Your team of heart specialists works to minimize symptoms and prevent further heart damage. Depending on your condition, you may benefit from a support device, medication management or heart surgery.

We offer an extensive array of mechanical circulatory support devices, including:

  • Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD): This surgically implanted pump helps circulate blood. We were the first in the region to offer the HeartMate 3™, a smaller-sized LVAD that pumps blood more gently.
  • Impella®: The world’s smallest heart pump provides short-term support for up to seven days. It’s inserted via a catheter (thin hollow tube) in your femoral artery (main arterial supply in the leg). This device helps people who are experiencing cardiogenic shock, which occurs when your heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood to your organs. Impella can also support a patient’s heart during procedures that otherwise might be too risky.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO): This machine pumps blood outside of your body, adds oxygen to it and returns it to your body. This process requires a hospital stay.

Unparalleled collaboration for heart transplantation

Two leaders in heart care, Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and Penn Medicine, have collaborated to offer heart transplant care close to home.

About 90 percent of patients with heart failure who choose Lehigh Valley Heart Institute for their care are able to receive all of their treatment in the Lehigh Valley. Those requiring a heart transplant will be referred to Penn Medicine. Performing more than 50 transplants each year, Penn Medicine is a top-10 heart transplant program in the nation and has the best possible team and facility for these complex procedures.

Help for heart failure

Our experts offer specialized treatments for people with advanced heart failure.

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