A doctor consults with a patient awaiting heart transplant.

When your heart is failing, you may feel weak and weary while struggling for every breath. It can be discouraging when you don’t feel well and treatment options seem limited. Providence doctors can talk with you about promising therapies that could improve your quality of life.

The specialty-trained heart surgeons in the Providence Mechanical Heart Program treat certain heart conditions with sophisticated medical devices. If your heart is weak, surgeons may implant a mechanical pump that supports the left side of your heart as it circulates blood. If both sides of your heart fail, a total artificial heart can replace your diseased heart. For some people, this can offer lifesaving support while awaiting a heart transplant.

Providence mechanical heart specialists treat many types of heart disease, including:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • End-stage heart failure
  • Open heart surgery (awaiting transplant)
  • Total artificial heart implant and care
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Ventricular-assist device implant and care

If you suffer from advanced heart disease, Providence heart doctors will evaluate your condition and discuss treatments. Your doctors will discuss whether a partial or total heart device may work for you.

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)

If the LVAD procedure is recommended, Providence heart surgeons will place the LVAD mechanical pump to support the left side of your heart, which is the major pumping chamber.

Doctors use the LVAD in two ways:

  • Destination therapy (DT): To treat severe heart disease and enhance your quality of life.
  • Bridge to transplant (BTT): To support your heart while you are waiting for a heart transplant.
Total artificial heart

If heart disease causes ventricles on both sides of your heart to fail and medication is no longer effective, a total artificial heart (TAH) device may be an option. Providence surgeons implant an artificial heart to replace the defective ventricles and push blood from your heart to the rest of your body and back.

An artificial heart can provide long-term support for your failing heart if you are unable to receive an organ transplant. Doctors sometimes recommend TAH as a bridge-to-transplant therapy — it can improve your quality of life until doctors find a suitable heart that’s available for transplant.

If you have a mechanical heart implant procedure, your care team may include:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Cardiac rehabilitation nurses
  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiothoracic surgeons
  • Cardiovascular surgeons
  • Cardiovascular technicians
  • Critical care nurses
  • Heart failure cardiologists
  • Hospitalists
  • Intensivists
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Mechanical heart engineers
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Radiologists
  • Registered nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Surgical assistants
  • Transplant coordinators
  • Transplant surgeons