What are the 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 one of the following:

Ventricular assist device (VAD)

A ventricular assist device is a mechanical pump that is used to help support weakened hearts and improve blood flow

Subcutaneous defibrillator 

A subcutaneous defibrillator is a device placed below the skin which uses small electrical shocks to help control arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) which can cause heart attacks and death.

Cardiac permanent pacemaker

A cardiac permanent pacemaker is a device used to keep the heart beat regular, which is one of the most common types of heart surgery.


Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care is home to a number of specialists who treat private patients with heart failure:

Locations where advanced therapies for heart failure are offered:

Royal Brompton Hospital

Harefield Hospital

What are the benefits of treating heart failure with advanced therapies?

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.

What are the risks of treating heart failure with advanced therapies?

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 or 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.

Are there any alternatives to treating heart failure with advanced therapies?

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.