Our Program

The USC Center for Advanced Heart Failure at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles draws on innovative technology, leading-edge medical and surgical interventions and decades of experience to provide patients with individualized assessment and care in the evaluation and treatment of advanced heart failure.

Our team meets regularly and all patients are carefully evaluated to identify the best available treatment options and interventions. Our experts are available to offer consultation on medication and medical devices to patients and families. Additionally, we are renown for our expertise in:

  • Innovative cardiac surgery techniques
  • Cardiac Transplantation
  • Mechanical Circulatory Support (Ventricular Assist Devices)

Our Approach

Our approach involves a multidisciplinary team composed of multiple specialists with expertise in treating patients with heart failure and cardiomyopathy, including:

  • Cardiologists with expertise in advanced heart failure-transplant, electrophysiology and interventional cardiology
  • Cardiac surgeons with expertise in heart transplant, mechanical circulatory support and minimally invasive surgery
  • Advanced practice cardiac nurses
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Dieticians
  • Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers
  • Financial services representatives

The care team works with patients and referring physicians to optimize patients’ health, striving to provide exceptional care and outcomes. We place value on our relationship with the referring physician and are committed to excellent communication to foster high quality continuity of care.

Conditions

Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy
Treating heart failure is one of the most common challenges facing contemporary cardiovascular medicine. Heart failure can be the outcome of many cardiac disease states, including coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy and even pregnancy. A multidisciplinary clinical program has been established at Keck Medicine of USC to improve the care of patients with heart failure though education, research and expansion of treatment options. This multidisciplinary team works collaboratively with patients and referring physicians to individualize plans, which improve the health and function and reduce the risk of hospitalization for our patients. In addition to outpatient evaluation, treatment and disease management of patients with advanced heart failure, we also offer evaluation for advanced therapies such as bi-ventricular pacing and cardiac transplantation ventricular assist devices (VAD). In addition, we have an active clinical trials program.

Visit our online health library for detailed information about heart failure and cardiomyopathy.

Treatments and Services

The USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute (CVTI) has a long standing history of leading the way in incorporating the latest advances and medical devices into practice and improving the lives of patients.
We offer:

  • Optimization of medications to improve the heart’s function augmented by temporary or permanent remote cardiac monitoring
  • A disease management program, in which certified nurse practitioners provide direct care and coordinate care with your physician
    • Both inpatient and outpatients work with an advanced practice heart failure nurse who coordinates comprehensive patient education and effective transitioning from inpatient to outpatient settings
  • Routine monitoring
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures
  • High-risk coronary interventions
  • Opportunities for clinical trial participation
  • Evaluation for ventricular assist devices (VAD) to improve patients’ quality of life and function status
  • Mechanical circulatory support options:Many innovative devices are designed to keep the heart functioning in a patient who has advanced heart failure or a life threatening condition called cardiogenic shock. Heart failure can occur for many reasons including cardiomyopathy from viruses, drugs or previous heart attacks and congenital heart disease. Some of these devices are used to get patients through a critical illness as a “bridge” to recovery. Others are used to help patients get well enough for an eventual heart transplant (“bridge to transplant”). These devices may also be used as a permanent treatment for the failing heart (“destination therapy”).

The devices we currently use for recovery, bridge or destination therapy include:

  • HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
  • CentriMag® RVAD/LVAD
  • SynCardia Total Artificial Heart
  • TandemHeart®
  • Impella 2.5

The LVAD team consists of surgeons, cardiologists, advanced practice nurses, social workers, dieticians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and financial counselors. The team has an integrative and comprehensive approach to evaluation and management in the hospital and the outpatient clinic.

HeartMate II® LVAD

HeartMate II® LVAD

HeartMate II® LVAD

The Thoratec HeartMate II® LVAD is an implanted, continuous flow, rotary, left-sided heart pump that is FDA approved for bridge-to-transplantation and destination therapy. The external components include a system driver that is connected to two batteries or a power based unit. This pump has been in use at USC since 2004 and replaced the older and larger, pulsatile HeartMate I device.

CentriMag® RVAD/LVAD

CentriMag® RVAD/LVAD

CentriMag® RVAD/LVAD

The Levitronix CentriMag® is a temporary, continuous flow, centrifugal, external ventricular assist system that is utilized at Keck Medicine of USC to support the right ventricle, the left ventricle or both ventricles in cardiogenic shock. The impeller is magnetically levitated within the pump to minimize damage to the blood cells and to prevent stasis, which promotes the formation of blood clots. The CentriMag® pump is sometimes used in combination with the HeartMate II® LVAD at USC, as a short-term device to help support the right heart in critically ill patients.

Syncardia Total Artificial Heart

Syncardia Total Artificial Heart

Syncardia Total Artificial Heart

The Syncardia Total Artificial Heart is an implanted, pulsatile flow device that is FDA approved for bridge-to-transplantation in patients with biventricular (left and right) heart failure. The system is driven by a pneumatic (air) pump. Keck Medicine of USC was the first center in Los Angeles to implant a Total Artificial Heart, and the first center on the West Coast to enroll a patient in the clinical trial involving the miniaturized, portable, Freedom® Driver which allows patients with the Total Artificial Heart increased mobility, and the option of returning home.

TandemHeart

TandemHeart®

TandemHeart®

The CardiacAssist TandemHeart® is a temporary, external, continuous flow, centrifugal pump that is placed non-surgically in the cardiac catheterization laboratory through the femoral vein. The pump is used at Keck Medicine of USC to stabilize critically ill patients who require short term left heart support that cannot be adequately achieved with an intra aortic balloon pump.

Impella 2.5

Impella 2.5

Impella 2.5

The Abiomed® Impella 2.5 is a miniaturized, temporary, external, continuous flow pump that is placed non-surgically in the cardiac catheterization laboratory through the femoral artery. The pump is used at Keck Medicine of USC to stabilize critically ill patients who require short term left heart support that cannot be adequately achieved with an intra aortic balloon pump.

Heartware HVAD

Heartware HVAD

Heartware HVAD

The Heartware HVAD® is an investigational, implanted, continuous flow, centrifugal left-sided heart pump that is being offered through a randomized, multicenter study for patients needing long term support with a device for destination therapy. Keck Medical Center of USC is the first site in Los Angeles to participate in the study and implant the device.

DuraHeart LVAD
The Terumo DuraHeart® LVAD is an investigational, implanted, continuous flow, centrigual left-sided heart pump that is being offered through a randomized, multicenter study for patients needing long term support with a device as a bridge-to-transplantation. Keck Medical Center of USC is the first site in Los Angeles to participate in the study and implant the device. Get more information on the Terumo DuraHeart LVAD.

Heart Transplant
Visit clinicaltrials.keckmedicine.org for active, ongoing clinical trials.

Our Physicians

 

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Practicing Locations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
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Practicing Locations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 1
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Specializing In

Heart Failure, Cardiomyopathy

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Specializing In

Heart Failure, Women's Cardiovascular Health

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
LAC+USC Medical Center
Other Locations
USC Healthcare Center 2
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Specializing In

Arrythmias, Heart Failure

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Specializing In

Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology

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Practicing Locations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Other Locations
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Specializing In

Cardiology, Echocardiography, Heart Failure, Nuclear Cardiology

Radiology

  • Farhood Saremi, MD
  • Alison Wilcox, MD, FSCCT

Additional Center Members

  • Felicia A. Schenkel, RN
  • Sophia Lam, RN, MSN, CNS, ACNP-BC