Heart Failure

The Advanced Heart Failure Center

The Advanced Heart Failure Center at Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI) is a center of excellence for patients with heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and cancer therapy-related heart problems. We specialize in implantation and management of ventricular assist devices (VAD) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Our cardiologists, advanced practice providers and other medical experts work to improve each patient’s length and quality of life by improving the performance of the heart.

Hope for the Heart

Heart failure means the heart muscle is failing to pump blood normally because it is damaged and/or weak. Your heart can fail for different reasons, including problems with your valves, arteries, your heart’s electrical system or the heart muscle itself. With advanced heart failure, you may frequently experience symptoms such as shortness of breath and fluid overload, both of which affect your quality of life.

Today, through advances in medical science and innovations in cardiovascular health, thousands of people with heart failure are living happier, healthier and more productive lives. OHI’s Advanced Heart Failure Center is your greatest resource for dealing with the physical and emotional impact of heart failure.

Designed to Make a Difference

Heart Failure is a complex disease process. It requires the care of highly specialized cardiovascular professionals:

  • Physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses experienced in heart failure
  • A team of highly-trained cardiac surgeons, clinicians, exercise physiologists, social workers, therapists and other experts who can address issues often accompanying heart failure, including personal concerns, financial problems, emotional pain, spiritual questions or family problems

Our staff partners with primary care physicians, keeping them updated and informed about patient progress and care. This communication provides every possible advantage for improving your cardiovascular health.

A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a mechanical circulatory support device, is an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) to the rest of your body. A VAD is used in people who have weakened hearts from heart failure.

Oklahoma Heart Institute is the first hospital in northeastern Oklahoma to offer the Medtronic HeartWare™ HVAD™ System as a destination therapy option for patients suffering from advanced heart failure who are not candidates for a heart transplant. The HVAD™ System is also available as a bridge to heart transplant in eligible patients.

HVAD Device in HandPhoto courtesy of Medtronic

The HVAD™ System features the world’s smallest, commercially available, centrifugal flow pump. Weighing only 160 grams, the HVAD™ System’s continuous flow pump is 30 percent thinner and has 38 percent less volume than other centrifugal-flow devices.

In the United States, more than 6 million Americans are living with heart failure and more than 250,000 patients have advanced heart failure and are ineligible for a heart transplant because of co-morbidities or health histories. VAD therapy has been demonstrated to extend life, augment cardiac function and improve quality of life for patients who may no longer benefit from earlier stage treatment options.

HVAD Device in Carring CasePhoto courtesy of Medtronic

The HVAD™ System consists of the pump; an external controller, which is a small computer that monitors the pump; a cable that connects the pump to the controller; and power sources that run the pump and controller. The HVAD™ Pump fits in the area around the heart known as the pericardial space. It is connected directly to the heart at the bottom of the left ventricle. There, it draws oxygen-rich blood through the pump and pushes it into the aorta where it flows to the rest of the body. The system can pump enough blood every minute to decrease heart failure symptoms. A physician programs the system to deliver the proper amount of flow for the body’s needs.

 

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is for patients who are extremely sick due to acute heart and/or lung failure that is potentially reversible and unresponsive to conventional management. The ECMO machine helps to alleviate the stress on these vital organs in order for them to have a chance to rest and recover until they are able to properly function again. Placing a patient on ECMO is done either in the operating room, cath lab or at the patient’s bedside. When connected to an ECMO machine, the blood flows through a tube into an artificial lung for the purpose of removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen. Then, the blood is warmed to body temperature and pumped back into the body. Depending on the condition of the patient, they may stay on ECMO anywhere from just days to several weeks. During this time, the medical team is able to treat them with a variety of procedures, medicines or give them adequate time to recover.

ECMO is used:

  • To assist patients recovering from heart failure, lung failure or heart surgery
  • During an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) procedure or similar
  • During high-risk cardiac catheterization lab procedures
  • Overwhelming infection
  • Burn injury to the lungs
  • Acute heart failure
  • Blood clot in the lungs
  • Low body temperature
  • Drug intoxication
  • Chest trauma
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia

Our staff partners with primary care physicians, keeping them updated and informed about patient progress and care. This communication provides every possible advantage for improving your cardiovascular health.

Pulmonary Artery Hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening condition where your arteries that go from your heart to your lungs are either narrow or blocked. Because of this, your heart works harder to pump the blood that flows through them which results in raised blood pressure in your lungs. Over time, your heart muscle grows weak and can lead to heart failure. There are treatments available that can help your symptoms improve so that you can live a better quality of life. The doctors at OHI's Advanced Heart Failure Center offer new hope to patients suffering from this chronic disease.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Normal Heart

Oklahoma Heart Institute performed one of the first procedures in Tulsa using the CardioMEMS™ HF System, a new miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure. CardioMEMS™ is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure.

CardioMEMS Miniaturized SensorPhoto courtesy of Abbott

CardioMEMS™ features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure PA pressure. Increased PA pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure. The new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their health care providers allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

The CardioMEMS™ sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient and does not require batteries. Once implanted, the wireless sensor sends pressure readings to an external patient electronic system. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. CardioMEMS™ allows the patients to transmit critical information about their heart failure status to a clinician on a regular basis, without the need for additional clinic or hospital visits. This provides clinicians with the ability to detect worsening heart failure sooner and adjust treatment to reduce the likelihood that the patient will need to be hospitalized.

 

Contact Us

For more information about The Advanced Heart Failure Center, please call 918-574-9003.

Referral Information

For urgent inpatient referrals, please call 1-833-OHI-ECMO (644-3265)

For non-urgent outpatient referrals, please call 1-833-OHI-LVAD (644-5823)

 

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