Heart failure may be caused by a number of underlying conditions. Experts at the Penn Heart Failure Program may recommend a heart failure procedure or surgery to repair your heart or improve its function and ease symptoms.

Treating Heart Failure: The Penn Medicine Difference

Penn is a leader in procedures to repair both common and rare causes of heart failure, with outcomes that exceed national averages. If you need a procedure to manage heart failure, you’re in the best hands. When you choose us, you’ll find:

  • Nationally recognized specialists: Our programs in ablation, transcatheter interventions, bypass surgery, heart transplantation and other cardiac procedures and surgeries are among the best in the nation. U.S. News & World Report recognizes our expertise in all heart surgery disciplines with a “high performing” rating.
  • Expertise for routine and complex cases: Our specialists treat thousands of people with heart failure each year. This high volume gives us vast experience with even the toughest cases. We can often help patients who have had unsuccessful cardiac treatments or are considered too high-risk elsewhere.
  • Special care for patients with chronic illness: The Heart Failure Program includes palliative care specialists who help patients and families handle the challenges of chronic illness and manage symptoms. They’re here for you before and after heart failure surgery.
  • Close collaboration with your local doctor: Most heart failure surgery patients come to us through referrals from their primary care physicians or cardiologists. We work closely with your regular doctors before, during and after surgery. Once you leave the hospital, your local doctor can manage your care. If you’d like to stay in our care, we can arrange that as well—it’s your choice.
  • Multidisciplinary network: As an academic medical center, Penn’s network includes surgeons, electrophysiologists and interventional cardiologists. They treat every type of cardiac problem, no matter how complex. We collaborate for seamless, individualized care.
  • Clinical trials: As an academic medical center, we are always involved in clinical trials testing new surgical approaches and devices for heart failure. Our research gives our patients access to cutting-edge options that are not available everywhere else.

Types of Procedures and Surgeries for Heart Failure

If the cause of your heart failure requires surgery, you’re in good hands with the experts at Penn Heart Failure Program. We offer leading-edge procedures for all types and causes of heart failure.

Catheter Ablation

Catheter ablation uses radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy a small area of heart tissue causing problems such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Penn’s Cardiac Arrhythmia Program performs more ablations than any other program in the region and is among the largest hospital-based programs in the United States. We have multiple electrophysiology labs with state-of-the-art technology for quick and accurate ablations.  

Implanted Devices

Many patients with heart failure need a device implanted in the heart to control and/or monitor heart rate and rhythm. Our cardiac arrhythmia physicians are experts in device implantation. Members of our team pioneered the development and testing of many leading devices for heart failure. Examples include:

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), which detect life-threatening heart rhythms and deliver an electrical shock or a series of paced beats to restore the heart to normal rhythm.  
  • Pacemakers, which control heart rate and rhythm.  
  • Remote monitoring devices that detect abnormal heart rhythms and send real-time signals to alert your healthcare team to potential problems.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

If blocked arteries are damaging your heart, coronary artery bypass surgery can improve blood flow and prevent future damage. CABG takes a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body and places it near the heart. This redirects blood around the blocked artery in your heart to improve heart function and lessen symptoms.

Penn’s cardiac surgeons are experts in CABG techniques that are less invasive, carry less risk and require less recovery time. Our program is nationally recognized for excellence by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about coronary artery bypass graft surgery at Penn.

Valve Repair or Replacement

If heart failure is caused by a defective or diseased heart valve, your doctor may recommend repairing or replacing the valve to ease stress on your heart.

Our program performs the most heart valve procedures in the region. Our patients have successful outcomes and few complications. Penn’s cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists are experts in many approaches to valve repair and replacement, including minimally invasive options. Learn more about heart valve treatment at Penn.

Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

A ventricular assist device (VAD) helps the heart pump when it can’t pump on its own. VADs are surgically implanted in the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). VADs are sometimes called mechanical circulatory support devices.

A VAD can help someone with severe heart failure get out of the hospital and home for care. It is sometimes called a bridge to transplant, helping patients who are waiting for a heart. Learn more about ventricular assist devices available at Penn.

Our VAD program performs many more procedures than the national average. We offer every device approved by the FDA, so you have access to more options. And we focus on minimally invasive procedures for quicker recovery and less risk.

Heart Transplant

If your heart can no longer meet your body’s needs, you may need a heart transplant. The Penn Medicine Heart Transplant Program is one of the top 10 heart transplant programs in the nation and one of the largest in the mid-Atlantic.

If we think you will be a candidate for heart transplant, we introduce you to the transplant team early in the process to give you plenty of time to prepare and ask questions. Learn more about the Penn Heart Transplant Program.

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