Expert care and advanced procedures to treat heart failure at any stage

Heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood for your body. Although it is a lifelong condition, treatment for heart failure can manage the symptoms and may allow your heart to gain strength.

The team in our Advanced Heart Failure Program is renowned for its innovations to improve treatment options and quality of care. 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 also aggressively pursuing even more effective therapies.

Types of heart failure treatment

The goals of heart failure treatment are to relieve symptoms and improve quality and length of life. In the earlier stages of the condition, your treatment plan may include make lifestyle changes such as:

  • Eating a heart-healthy, low-salt diet

  • Exercising

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Quitting smoking

Medications can improve the heart’s function and your ability to live a more normal life. Medications you may be prescribed could include:

  • Diuretics to reduce fluid build-up

  • ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to lower blood pressure

  • Beta blockers to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure

  • Aldosterone blockers to help prevent your body from holding onto fluids

  • Hydralazine/isosorbide to relax your blood vessels

  • Inotropes to increase your heart’s squeezing capacity. Only select centers like ours can send patients home on these powerful medications

More serious cases of heart failure may need advanced treatment. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

Types of heart failure surgery

We’ll discuss your surgical options and work with you to find the best surgical option for your condition:

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: If you heart is failing due to blockages in the coronary arteries, we can use a healthy vessel from elsewhere in the body to restore normal blood flow by creating a detour around the blocked arteries.

  • Heart transplant: If your heart is severely diseased, your doctor may recommend that your old heart be replaced with a healthier one.

  • Heart valve surgery: Damaged or diseased heart valves can prevent your heart from getting enough blood. Your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or replace the affected valves.

  • Ventricular assist device (VAD): Mechanical pumps can be implanted in your abdomen to help your heart pump enough blood through your body. These pumps may be used as an alternative to a heart transplant.

After surgery, your doctor may recommend that you receive extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), an external pump to oxygenate your blood, which allows your heart time to rest.

Conditions

Advanced heart failure

Advanced heart failure is a form of heart failure that has progressed to the most serious stage.

Amyloidosis (cardiac)

Amyloidosis is a disease that causes an abnormal protein called amyloid to build up in vital organs, such as the heart.

Angiogram (angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that weakens or changes the structure of your heart muscle, which makes it difficult for your heart to fill with and pump blood.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when your heart doesn’t fill with enough blood or doesn’t pump enough blood throughout your body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Peripartum cardiomyopathy

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare form of heart failure that can develop during or up to six months after pregnancy.

Sarcoidosis (cardiac)

Sarcoidosis causes lumps to form in your heart, lungs or lymph nodes and can damage these organs.

Stress tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.

Tests

Angiogram (angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Heart biopsy 

In a heart biopsy, your doctor will remove small samples of your heart muscle tissue to monitor heart function or diagnose a problem.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology used to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Stress tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital

25500 Point Lookout Rd.
Leonardtown, MD 20650

MedStar Harbor Hospital

3001 S. Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20007

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

Additional information

Advanced heart failure patient support

Our unique patient support program offers the resources you need to optimize your medical care and improve your quality of life.

Read our Cardiovascular Performance & Outcomes Booklet

Ask MHVI

Have questions for our heart and vascular specialists? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net