Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute

Heart Failure Program

  • Overview
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Meet Our Team

Diagnosis & Treatment

The Heart Failure Program offers every patient personalized diagnostic and treatment options to meet their individual needs. We utilize the most advanced technology to ensure the highest standards of care and best possible outcomes.

Diagnosis of Heart Failure

The first sign of heart failure is usually a decreased tolerance of exercise and activity, and a shortness of breath. Clinical diagnosis begins with a discussion of the patient’s symptoms and medical history and performing a physical examination.

Our team then use several, non-invasive diagnostic tests and advanced imaging technologies, which may also be used during the management of heart failure, including:

  • Electrocardiogram: An ECG takes a recording of the heart’s electrical activity to detect abnormalities.
  • X-ray:Images of the heart and inside the chest may be taken.
  • High-resolution echocardiography and cardiac MRI: These imaging modalities provide detailed images of the heart's structure and function, aiding in the accurate diagnosis of heart failure and in monitoring the effectiveness of treatments.
  • 3D Printing: Utilized for pre-surgical planning, 3D printing allows for the creation of patient-specific heart models. This aids surgeons in planning complex heart surgeries or interventions, improving surgical outcomes.

Sometimes, a diagnosis may also require invasive tests, like cardiac catheterization, to observe blood flow and blood pressure.

Treatment of Heart Failure

For some, lifestyle changes and medication can treat heart failure effectively. For others, surgery may be required. For patients with end-stage heart failure, a heart transplant may be required. The treatment prescribed will depend on many factors, including the type of heart failure and its cause.

Learn more about treatments for heart failure here.

Lifestyle changes and medication

Our nurses, dietitians and cardiac rehabilitation team works with patients to help them develop a diet, exercise and lifestyle program that will help them to control heart failure symptoms. Most people with heart failure are treated with medication, so we work with patients to ensure they are on the right type and amount of medication to keep their heart failure from getting worse and to reduce symptoms.

Remote monitoring

We use state-of-the-art, implanted devices which allow remote monitoring of our patients’ conditions. The monitor alerts our team before any symptoms are noticed by the patient. With the information gathered, we can adjust medication and avoid hospitalization.

Electrical device management

For patients with advanced heart failure, small electrical devices can be implanted to monitor or control the heart’s rhythm. Implanted devices include:

  • Pacemakers: Monitor the heart’s rate and send an electrical impulse to keep it beating at the correct rate.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT): Ensures the walls of the left ventricle are contracting at the same time.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs): Constantly monitors the heart’s rhythm and deliver a controlled shock when needed.
  • CRT-Ds: Cardiac resynchronization and defibrillation (CRT-Ds).
  • Pulmonary artery pressure sensors: Send blood pressure readings to a monitor accessed by medical teams, alerting them to when medication needs adjusting.


We offer advanced, minimally invasive, and robotically assisted surgical procedures to manage complex cases of heart failure.

  • Catheter ablation: A minimally invasive procedure to treat abnormal heartbeats.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery: Offered to people with coronary artery disease.
  • Coronary angioplasty and stent: A minimally invasive procedure, also used to treat coronary artery disease.
  • Heart valve surgery: Procedures either to repair or replace damaged or diseased heart valves.
  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): Implanted devices that help the heart to pump blood properly from the lower chambers.
    • Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs): Placed in the left lower heart chamber, often given to patients waiting for a heart transplant.
    • Biventricular Assist Devices (BiVADs): Given when both heart ventricles are failing.

Learn more about advanced surgical treatment options for heart failure here .

Heart transplant

A heart transplant is a major surgery given to patients with end-stage heart failure. The damaged heart is replaced with a healthy one from a donor.

Show More

Meet Our Team

Our Heart Failure Program is a multidisciplinary effort involving a range of caregivers working together to treat patients with a range of conditions and symptoms. Our aim is to accurately diagnose heart failure and develop the best possible treatment plan, tailored to the individual. Caregivers involved in the program includes:

  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiovascular imaging specialists
  • Heart failure nurses
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Nutritionists
  • Rehabilitation professionals.
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