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Heart Failure (cont.)

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What procedures or surgery treats heart failure?

In severe heart failure, devices can help the heart pump better. Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD) are implanted mechanical pumps that are most commonly used when people are waiting for heart transplants.

When medications and lifestyle haven't stopped the progression of heart failure, surgical transplantation of a donor heart can be lifesaving.

Other surgical procedures can sometimes be performed earlier to address the risk factors and causes of heart disease such as coronary artery bypass, percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty to open the blockages of coronary atherosclerosis.

Which specialties of doctors treat heart failure?

You may initially see your primary care provider (PCP) such as a family practitioner or internist, and in a sudden or severe situation you may be seen by an emergency medicine specialist in a hospital's emergency department.

You will be referred to a cardiologist, a specialist in disorders of the heart. You also may see some sub-specialties of cardiology, including a cardiac electrophysiologist, who specializes in electrical and heart rhythm problems, or a cardiothoracic surgeon if surgery is needed.

What are the potential complications of heart failure?

The complications of heart failure include severe fatigue and weakness, inability to complete activities of daily living, kidney damage, and progressive heart failure that could ultimately require heart transplant.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016


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