With the U.S. population aging and improved survival after heart attack, heart failure prevalence continues to climb. At the same time, major advances in diagnosis and treatment have converted the diagnosis of heart failure from that of an extremely high mortality rate to one of cautious hope, with many patients living long and active lives after diagnosis. Therapeutic options for patients with advanced heart failure, including heart transplant and ventricular assist devices (VADs), have also become increasingly complex, requiring substantial technical proficiency.

To meet this rising need in healthcare, Penn Medicine cardiologists are leaders in a new cardiology subspecialty, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology.  Seven of the nine Heart Failure and Transplant doctors at Penn are now certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in the new Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology specialty.  Only 225 doctors are certified world-wide.

The new specialty was created because of the rapid progress in treatment options for patients with heart failure and the ever growing need to monitor, assess, and advance these new technologies for patients.

“With this new certification, Penn Medicine cardiologists lead the way in providing optimal, technically advanced yet cost-effective care for patients with heart failure,” said Mariell Jessup, MD, Medical Director of the Penn Heart and Vascular Center and a co-author on the original proposal to establish the new secondary subspecialty in Cardiology.

While most heart failure patients will continue to be managed by general internists or cardiologists, the new subspecialists will serve as consultants for patients with worsening heart failure and those who need more advanced care. Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologists will also play a critical role as leaders of specialized services, such as transplant centers and heart failure clinics. They will be cardiologists with experience in managing the entire spectrum of patients with heart failure and proficiency in the expanding range of treatment techniques.

Among those awarded specialty certification in transplant cardiology and treatment of advanced heart failure at Penn Medicine are:

For the first five years, cardiologists who can document high-level experience in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology will be qualified to sit for the certifying examination. After that, one-year accredited training programs will be available for physicians after they have earned their board certification in Cardiovascular Disease through the ABIM. The first qualifying exam was held in November 2010.

The Heart Failure and Transplantation program at Penn Medicine offers comprehensive care for patients with heart failure and more treatment options than anywhere else in the region. From early prevention strategies to end-stage treatment options, Penn’s experienced heart failure specialists offer every option to help patients live longer, healthier lives.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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