Advanced Heart Failure

Call 843-792-1952 to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment. Learn more about virtual visits.

Heart failure affects more than 5.7 million Americans, and it sends many older adults to the hospital. Though the condition is common, MUSC Health understands your situation is unique. That’s why our team of heart specialists work together to develop the best customized treatment plan for your body.

MUSC Health’s Heart & Vascular Center offers more treatment options for heart failure than any other program in South Carolina. From monitoring and medication management to more advanced options, including surgery, our specialists evaluate your condition and recommend the right care.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure, and What Causes It?

Congestive heart failure means your heart cannot fill or pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. This can result in fluid accumulation in the lungs, which causes symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue. As fluid builds up in the body, patients may develop additional symptoms such as swelling (edema) in the ankles, legs, feet, and belly, along with persistent cough, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Many conditions can contribute to heart failure, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Heart failure may also be caused by diseases of the heart muscle such as cardiomyopathy.

If heart failure becomes advanced or is left untreated, the heart muscle becomes weaker over time. While medication and other conservative treatment are often effective in treating heart failure, patients with advanced disease may require a heart transplant or mechanical heart support, such as a ventricular assist device (VAD). MUSC Health is the only hospital in South Carolina equipped to provide the full spectrum of heart disease treatment, including transplant and VAD implantation.

Why Choose MUSC Health for Advanced Heart Failure Care?

MUSC Health offers more heart failure treatment options than any other program in South Carolina. Our doctors are dedicated to helping you feel your best, with:

  • Comprehensive care: We are the only medical center in the state with a complete Advanced Heart Failure Program, including diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, a cardiac rehab program and lifelong heart care. A heart failure specialist is available 24/7 for consultations.

  • Exclusive treatment options: MUSC Health offers South Carolina’s only heart transplantation program. We also have the state’s most extensive range of heart disease treatment options, including the largest mechanical circulatory support program, which provides alternative therapies to those who do not want or are not eligible for transplant.
     
  • Innovations in heart failure therapy: Our clinical trials offer access to leading-edge drugs, devices and treatments that aren’t available elsewhere in the state. When some treatments are approved for widespread use, MUSC Health doctors have already been using and evaluating them for many years. Learn more about clinical trials.  

  • Depth of experience: U.S. News & World Report ranks MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina and ranks MUSC Health as high-performing in heart failure care. Our team of board-certified advanced heart failure cardiologists is the state’s largest. The team includes some of the world’s experts in certain conditions.   

  • Convenient follow-up: Heart failure requires ongoing monitoring. We work with your referring doctor to ensure you receive the care you need closer to home. Our Heart Failure Telemedicine initiative enables patients to see their doctor online. These virtual visits mean patients often do not have to travel to Charleston for ongoing care. We also partner with cardiologists across the state and have regional clinic locations

Heart Failure Treatments

MUSC Health’s Heart & Vascular Center is the only South Carolina center that provides a complete range of heart failure treatments, including transplant. Our team cares for some patients throughout their lifetime. For others, we might treat them once and then help them transition back to their home cardiologist’s care.

In addition to standard options such as medication management, we also offer these specialized programs:

Shock and Cardiac Emergency Care 
When people come to MUSC Health in shock or sudden cardiac arrest, we activate a special team to care for them. Our cardiac shock team includes heart failure and interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists and other specialists.  When people in cardiac shock need extra support to help their heart circulate their blood, we can offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO treatment helps oxygenate the blood to give the body a chance to recover from serious illness. MUSC Health is the only hospital in South Carolina that offers ECMO machine technology.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited condition causes the heart muscle to thicken. The thickened muscle obstructs the flow of blood out of the heart during each heartbeat. 

CardioMEMS™ for Heart Failure Surveillance
CardioMEMS HF System for home monitoring of patients with heart failure. Our heart failure team uses information transmitted from this implanted device to monitor your heart health from the convenience of your home. Daily readings enable your doctor to detect warning signs of heart failure before symptoms appear. Your doctor can adjust treatment as needed to help you avoid hospitalization and enhance your quality of life. 

Your Heart Failure Team at MUSC Health

Heart failure can have many causes, which is why MUSC Health takes a team approach to caring for all heart and vascular conditions. Our collaborative team includes:

  • Doctors and surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Cardiac anesthesiologists  Endocrinologists, pulmonologists (lung specialists) and nephrologists (kidney specialists), for people with other conditions
  • Specialists in cardiovascular genetics and inherited heart disease

Our complete team includes experts in any heart failure-associated problem, including cardiomyopathy, cardiac amyloidosis and cardiovascular geneticsMeet our team.