Advanced Heart Failure

Houston Methodist’s heart failure and transplant team includes cardiologists and thoracic surgeons, social workers, psychiatrists, financial analysts, critical care specialists and palliative care coordinators who evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with late-stage heart failure. We look for underlying causes, disease severity and treatment options and tailor our assessments based on each patient’s circumstances.

Our team’s vast experience builds on Houston Methodist’s legacy as a leading U.S. transplant site, performing more than 1,000 heart transplants since 1968, often giving hope to patients with complex conditions who otherwise have no options.


Houston Methodist also is home to one the largest programs nationwide that implants left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), or heart pumps, which can extend the lives of patients who do not qualify for heart transplant or assist those waiting for transplant.

Definition
Heart failure generally is considered advanced after conventional treatments stop working, and patients repeatedly are hospitalized. The likelihood of survival significantly decreases to little more than one year.

Symptoms

  • Progressive breathlessness occurring at rest, while eating, taking a shower or talking on the phone
  • Worsening fatigue
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Progressive inability to tolerate standard medicines

Causes

  • Infiltrative, or restrictive, cardiomyopathy, where the ventricles become rigid and restrict filling
  • Disease-specific cardiomyopathies, where the heart muscle becomes abnormally enlarged, thickened or stiff because of a variety of diseases
  • Cardiac amyloidosis, caused by deposits of an abnormal protein (amyloid) in the heart tissue
  • Hemochromatosis, a genetic condition that causes an iron overload that poisons organs, including the heart
  • Sarcoidosis, the growth of inflammatory cells in different parts of the body, including the heart

Diagnostics

  • Blood tests
  • Catheterization
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Nuclear imaging

Treatments

  • Medicines
  • LVAD
  • Transplant
  • Palliative care, providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain and mental and physical stress associated with a serious illness

TREATMENT LOCATIONS

Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in managing advanced heart failure at the following convenient locations: