Nir Uriel, MD, provides answers to common questions about heart failure
What are the treatment options for advanced heart failure?
We can help patients who have damaged or weakened hearts with medication, pacemaker/defibrillators, rehabilitation, therapy and lifestyle changes. But the disease eventually progresses and the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the needs for the body. Heart replacement therapy, including heart transplant and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), are the current treatments for advanced heart failure. Heart transplant still offers the best quality of life. But with improvements in mechanical circulatory support technology, this may change.
What are LVADs?
LVADs are heart pumps that push the blood from the heart into the main artery (aorta). These mechanical pumps were initially devised as a bridge to transplant, but we now offer them as a long-term therapy. LVADs represent a new horizon for the many patients who are ineligible for heart transplant or who cannot get a donor organ.
How does your team decide what treatment to recommend?
We work together across multidisciplanary teams–cardiology, imaging, nursing, social work and psychiatry. We have the experience to identify which patients will do well with an LVAD or a transplant based on medical need, readiness and the patient's support system.
What is rewarding about taking care of heart failure patients?
Heart failure is not similar to other conditions. We see sicker patients, and we care for them for a long time. We become part of their lives and vice versa. Sometimes we have ups and downs. It's like a marriage; we are in it together. The joy of seeing my patients enjoy life with their families drives my work.
Heart failure is a serious and often complex condition, affecting more than 5 million Americans with 825,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.Learn more about how we treat heart failure