Advanced Therapies to Treat Heart Failure

Heart failure is complex and often requires a combination of treatments, including surgery, medication, lifestyle changes and implanted devices. Surgical intervention for heart failure includes the implantation of a:

  • left ventricular assist device (LVAD) – which is a mechanical pump that is used to help support weakened hearts and improve blood flow.
  • subcutaneous defibrillator – which uses small electrical shocks to help control arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), that can cause heart attacks and death.
  • cardiac permanent pacemaker – which is one of the most common types of heart surgery and is used to keep the heart beat regular.

What are the benefits?

In the case of heart failure, surgical intervention can save a person’s life by allowing the heart to function correctly. A healthy heart can reduce the risk of stroke and thrombosis.

Are there any alternatives?

Heart failure is, for many people, a life-long condition that requires ongoing treatment. When there is a specific cause of heart failure, such as clogged arteries, damaged valves or heart rhythm abnormalities, surgery is usually the only option. However, lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, losing weight and taking regular exercise, combined with the right medication, can be enough to manage conditions such as hypertension.

What are the risks?

All surgery involves risks and these will be discussed with outpatients and again immediately prior to the procedure. The implantation of an LVAD, subcutaneous defibrillator and pacemaker carries with it the risk of blood clots, device malfunctions, infection and bleeding. However the survival rates are excellent and in the most complex cases of heart failure, can delay or remove the need for a heart transplant.

 Consultants linked to treatment:

Location where service is offered:

Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital

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