Advanced Heart Failure Program | MedStar Health

A team of MedStar Health advanced heart failure specialists stand together for a group photo.

Comprehensive care for the sickest of the sick

More serious cases of heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, call for special treatment. Our Advanced Heart Failure Program is known for its innovation in heart failure treatments, alleviating symptoms and adding quality years to the lives of patients across the spectrum of the disease.

Our doctors implanted the first HeartWare left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in the country and performed the first heart transplant in the District of Columbia. We continue to improve on these procedures while aggressively pursuing even more effective therapies. Our doctors often design, lead, and take part in clinical trials, giving our patients early access to emerging, promising therapies, such as inotropes. These are strong medications designed to treat advanced heart failure by changing the force of the heart’s contractions. Sending patients home on these medications is only done at select programs like ours.

At the core of our program is our team of more than 75 professionals, unrivaled in the mid-Atlantic region for our scope of services, quality of care, and outcomes. The team includes not only heart doctors and surgeons but also nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, financial counselors, and social workers as part of our patient support program. We’re also one of the first advanced heart failure programs to integrate palliative care along every step of treatment for a personalized, holistic team approach that provides ongoing support for patients and their families.

Learn More About Advanced Heart Failure Symptoms & Risk Factors

Learn More About Advanced Heart Failure Treatments

International pioneers in ventricular assist devices

NAJJAR_Samer_holding LVAD device_portrait_cardiac catheterization lab_MWHC_WASHINGTON_vertWe are an international leader in developing and perfecting ventricular assist devices (VADs). These mechanical circulatory assist devices help pump blood from the ventricles to the rest of the body. We have been involved in virtually every important new VAD development since the inception of the device.

One of the most common types of VAD is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Our doctors have been performing LVAD procedures since 1988, and we were among the first four hospitals in the world to perform this surgery.

Ventricular assist devices can be used until a patient’s heart becomes strong enough to pump on its own, while waiting for a heart transplant or if the patient is not a good candidate for a heart transplant. Our program is among the nation’s busiest VAD sites, giving our surgeons unmatched experience.

National leaders in heart transplants

Our doctors performed the first heart transplant in the region in 1987, and our program has since performed more than 250 of these life-saving surgeries. We are one of five programs nationwide researching noninvasive methods to assess patients for the potential of heart transplant rejection.

A patient’s transplant team may include cardiothoracic surgeons, advanced heart failure cardiologists, cardiac intensivists, transplant coordinators, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, nutritionists, or other dedicated staff members with transplant expertise.

Patient Resources

Resources for the best care, improved quality of life

Patients with advanced heart failure have complex medical, social and emotional needs. Our team of diverse specialists helps enhance your quality of life while living with advanced heart failure. We offer:

  • Individualized support: We provide the resources you need at the time you need them, from crisis management to physical therapy.

  • Family support: Advanced heart failure can affect your spouse, children, family and caregivers. We offer support groups and education for family members and caregivers so they can take care of themselves and give you the support you need.

  • Education: We understand you want to know everything you can about your condition. Our patient support team will answer all your questions and provide the information you need to live well.

  • Symptom management: Our team of expert clinicians will help you manage uncomfortable symptoms such as pain and nausea.

Your support team will work with you and your doctors to help you cope with this complex condition. The team may include:

  • Social workers: Our social workers specialize in working with advanced heart failure patients. They can help you access community resources, support groups and more.

  • Nutritionists: Diet plays a key role in managing heart failure. You can work with a nutrition services professional to make healthy eating changes.

  • Exercise physiologists: Cardiac rehabilitation can be an important step in managing heart failure. Our exercise physiologists will work with you to incorporate physical activity into your daily life within the limits of your condition.

  • Financial counselor: Our dedicated financial counselor will help you explore all the insurance and funding options available for your treatment, particularly if you are under consideration for a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) or heart transplant.

Our locations

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MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Health: Cardiology Associates at Annapolis

2002 Medical Parkway
Suite 500
Annapolis, MD 21401

MedStar Health: Heart and Vascular at Glen Burnie

808 Landmark Drive
Suite 120
Glen Burnie, MD 21061


MedStar Health: Cardiac Electrophysiology at Reston Town Center

1830 Town Center Drive
Suite 405
Reston, VA 20190

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.