Mid-Atlantic Cardiothoracic Surgeons

Sentara Heart Hospital, 6th Floor • 600 Gresham Drive, Suite 8600
Norfolk, VA • 757.388.6005
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Heart Failure/Transplant

Heart failure is often a long-term (chronic) condition, but it can sometimes develop suddenly. The condition may affect only the right side or only the left side of the heart. These are called right-sided heart failure or left-sided heart failure. More often, both sides of the heart are involved.

Heart failure is present when your heart muscle cannot pump (eject) the blood out of the heart very well. This is called systolic heart failure. Diastolic heart failure occurs when your heart muscles are stiff and do not fill up with blood easily.

These problems mean the heart is no longer able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood out to the rest of your body. As the heart's pumping becomes less effective, blood may back up in other areas of the body. Fluid may build up in the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and the arms and legs. This is called congestive heart failure.

There are many treatment options for heart failure including but not limited to; monitoring and self-care, medication, pacemaker, implanted defibrillator, coronary bypass surgery and heart valve surgery.

Severe heart failure occurs when treatments no longer work. This is referred to as End-Stage Heart Failure. Certain treatments may be used when a person is waiting for a heart transplant such as Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) and Left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

Mid-Atlantic Cardiothoracic Surgeons has been performing heart transplants for more than twenty-five years. Our heart transplant program has maintained a very high standing survival rate. Patients are managed before, during and after surgery by a highly skilled heart team consisting of Mid-Atlantic Cardiothoracic Surgeons, heart failure cardiologists, cardiologists, and cardiac care nurse practitioners.

Surgeries for heart failure may include:

  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) — In this procedure, your cardiologist inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) into the narrowed part of your artery. A wire with a deflated balloon is passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. The balloon is then inflated, compressing the deposits against your artery walls).
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting — is the most commonly performed "open heart" operation in the United States. CABG is performed to restore blood flow to the heart. This relieves chest pain and ischemia (restricted blood supply to the heart), improves the patient's quality of life, and in some cases, prolongs the patient's life.
  • Off Pump Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting — or "beating heart" surgery is a form of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery performed without cardiopulmonary bypass (heart-lung machine) as a treatment for coronary heart disease.
  • Transmyocardial Revascularization — which can be done by itself or in combination with conventional coronary bypass surgery, consists of the creation of channels through the heart muscle. In time, as these channels heal, they stimulate the creation of new small vessels or capillaries by a process known as angiogenesis.

Options for end-stage heart failure include:

  • Heart Transplant — replaces the damaged heart with a healthy one taken from a donor who has been declared brain dead. It can take several months to find a donor heart that closely matches the tissues of the person receiving the transplant.
  • Total Artificial Heart — or (TAH), is a device that replaces the two lower chambers of the heart. These chambers are called ventricles.
  • Left Ventricular Assist Device-Heartmate II & Heartware — is Thoratec's first-line intermediate-to-chronic left ventricular assist device. Designed to dramatically improve survival and quality of life, the HeartMate II was developed with the goal of providing several years of circulatory support for a broad range of advanced heart failure patients.