Our ProgramThe Center for Advanced Heart Failure at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles draws on innovative technology, and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions. Our experienced team provides patients with individualized assessment and care in the evaluation and treatment of advanced heart failure.
Heart failure is diagnosed when the heart has weakened and is no longer pumping blood as efficiently as it should. Although heart failure cannot be cured, many patients can experience significant recovery and improvement, with individualized treatment. Consistent care, medical optimization, lifestyle changes and appropriately applied technological advances can significantly improve a patient’s function and quality of life.
Our multidisciplinary team meets regularly, and patients are carefully evaluated to identify the best available treatments and interventions. Consultations on medication and medical devices are offered to patients and families. Additionally, we are known for our expertise in:
- Remote health monitoring and smart technology
- Clinical investigation of new medical and device therapies
- Innovative cardiac surgery techniques
- Cardiac transplantation
- Mechanical circulatory support (ventricular assist devices)
Patients have access to the complete spectrum of care at our center, which begins with advanced diagnostics and treatments that may include lifestyle redesign, medical optimization, specialized interventional and surgical techniques, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplant. A multidisciplinary approach to advanced heart failure care involves a highly trained 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
- Social workers
The care team works with patients and referring physicians to optimize a patient’s health, striving to provide exceptional care. A comprehensive approach significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization. The Center for Advanced Heart Failure is committed to working with referring physicians to foster excellent communication and high-quality continuity of care.
ConditionsAdvanced Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy
Heart failure is a syndrome that can result from any condition that causes damage to the heart and/or interferes with the heart’s normal function. Some of the most common conditions that can contribute to developing heart failure include:
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart valve abnormalities
- Valvular heart disease
- Severe lung disease
- Sleep apnea
- Severe nutritional deficiencies
- Poor physical fitness
Treatments and ServicesThe 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.
Our comprehensive medical and surgical interventions include:
- 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
- Inpatients and outpatients both work with an advanced practice heart failure nurse who coordinates comprehensive patient education and effective transitioning from inpatient to outpatient settings.
- 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
Though less than 5% of patients require a heart transplant, some patients will need surgical intervention. 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. 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 Center for Advanced Heart Failure comprises our dedicated left ventricular assist device (LVAD) team. 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 both in the hospital and the outpatient clinic.
The devices we currently use for recovery, bridge or destination therapy include:
- HVAD Heartwave
- HeartMate 3™
- HeartMate II™ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
- CentriMag™ RVAD/LVAD
- SynCardia Total Artificial Heart (TAH)
- Impella 2.5
- Farhood Saremi, MD
- Alison Wilcox, MD, FSCCT
Additional Center Members
- Sophia Lam, RN, MSN, CNS, ACNP-BC
- Felicia A. Schenkel, RN