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Heart Failure

Heart failure — although it sounds frightening — doesn't mean your heart has stopped working. It is a treatable condition. It means your heart doesn't work as well as it should.

In heart failure, you may experience difficulty pumping blood because the heart is too weak or too stiff, and the heart, organs, and tissues receive an inadequate supply of blood. It may be harder for you to do things that might have been easy in the past. You can have heart failure without ever suffering a heart attack.

The multidisciplinary team at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas is committed to you and your heart health. We're here to help you understand more about heart failure and what you can do about it, and ready to work with you and your healthcare provider.

Treatment options for heart failure include a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD), the total artificial heart and heart transplant.




Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

When the heart is unable to pump blood, a patient may benefit from a surgically implanted pump placed in the chest known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). This device can be used as a substitute to help the heart work more efficiently, supplementing the heart's pumping ability to improve blood flow. An LVAD supports a weakened or diseased left ventricle, the heart's most muscular chamber which pumps oxygen-rich blood out of the heart and throughout the entire body. It may be necessary if heart failure progresses to the point where medicines and other treatments no longer help. The LVAD consists of a tube connected to the left ventricle, a pump, and another tube connected to the aorta. As the left ventricle fills with blood, it flows through the tube and into the internal pump, which pushes it forcefully out into the aorta.

A battery-powered mechanical device, the LVAD is connected to a computer controller and power supply outside of the body; a belt or harness holding these external items may be given to the patient to wear. The most commonly used LVADs are the size of a compact disc (CD), although newer versions may be much smaller. LVADs are often used for heart failure or during the period prior to heart transplant.

Total artificial heart

Cardiac replacement using a total artificial heart as a bridge to transplantation is possible through services provided at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular – Dallas and Baylor University Medical Center. The total artificial heart is a blood pump which eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage heart failure by replacing both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. Patients must meet certain criteria to be suitable candidates for the total artificial heart.

Heart transplant

Cardiac transplantation, commonly called a heart transplant, is surgically replacing a patient's irreversibly damaged heart with a healthy heart donated from another person. A heart transplant is for individuals with end-stage heart disease that does not respond to any other form of therapy. Physicians follow strict medical guidelines to qualify and select potential heart recipients.


Dual Listing

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 50% of those on the waiting list must wait more than five years from their listing date to receive a transplant. At Baylor Scott & White – Dallas, collaborative relationships with other transplant centers and heart failure centers enable dual listing at two or more centers, reducing the wait time for heart transplant candidates.

Baylor Dallas has one of the shortest wait times in the country. A 1A status is eight days wait time and status 1B is less than two weeks.

Transplant Process

At Baylor Dallas, we’re here with you every step of the way during the heart transplant process. Find out more about what to expect.

Learn more

Heart-to-Heart Program

Over six million people a year live with heart failure, and only about 2,200 receive a new heart each year. Since 2014, the Heart-to-Heart Program at Baylor Dallas has been reminding patients of their great fortune by inviting them back to see and hold their former heart, while educating them on how to care for their new one.

I wake up every day with the goal of making every beat count

After receiving his heart transplant at 24 years old, Kennedy Ngungutau is making every beat count. Kennedy is now serving as a volunteer to other cardiac patients at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas and plans to pursue a career as a heart transplantation nurse.

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