Advanced Heart Failure

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

Heart failure means your heart doesn’t work as it should. Heart failure affects more than 5.7 million Americans, and it sends many older adults to the hospital. Though the condition is common, your situation is unique. That’s why our heart specialists collaborate to develop a customized treatment plan that takes into account your individual needs and goals.

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

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Heart failure means your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. As a result, you may get short of breath and tire easily. Congestive heart failure occurs when fluid builds up in your body and you develop swelling in your ankles, legs and feet.

Heart failure is considered advanced as the heart muscle gets weaker over time. When this happens, the left ventricle of the heart enlarges. Some people with advanced heart failure eventually need a heart transplant.

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.
  • 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 lets you “see” your doctor virtually without traveling to Charleston. 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 some not found elsewhere. 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 treatments:

Alcohol Septal Ablation for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

MUSC Health is among a select few centers nationwide with the expertise to offer alcohol septal ablation treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCOM). This often-inherited condition causes the heart muscle to thicken. The thickened muscle obstructs the flow of blood out of the heart during each heartbeat.

The traditional treatment for HCOM is a surgical procedure called a septal myectomy to remove thickened heart muscle. Alcohol septal ablation is safer because it doesn’t involve surgery. During the procedure:

  • Doctors inject small amounts of purified alcohol into a catheter to destroy and shrink enlarged cells.
  • Advanced imaging technology available in our cardiac catheterization lab allows our doctors to apply the alcohol with great precision.
  • Blood flow into and out of your heart improves when the overgrown heart muscle shrinks.


Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can affect your heart’s health. Heart specialists at the MUSC Health Cardio-Oncology Program work with your cancer team to protect your heart before, during and after cancer treatments.

CardioMEMS™ for Heart Failure Surveillance

MUSC Health is the only medical center in South Carolina to use the 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.

Heart Transplants

We operate South Carolina’s only heart transplant program, with shorter-than-average wait times and a solid record of successful outcomes. Since performing South Carolina’s first heart transplant in 1987, our transplant specialists at MUSC Health have saved the lives of more than 530 South Carolinians with severe heart failure — and that number continues to grow. Learn more about heart transplants at MUSC Health.

Heart Valve Procedures

Today, heart surgeons still use traditional open-heart surgical procedures to repair or replace faulty heart valves. We also offer minimally invasive catheter-based heart valve procedures, including:

  • Robotic mitral valve repair: Ours is the only program in the region that performs robotic valve surgery. Surgeons can use a robot to assist in precise valve repair.
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): Our heart valve specialists are the state’s leading experts in TAVR for high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening). Our team is also involved with studies of TAVR to expand access to more people with aortic valve problems.
  • MitraClip®: We were the first medical center in South Carolina to offer a device called the MitraClip. This device treats patients who have severe mitral regurgitation — when blood leaks backward into the heart through the mitral valve. 

Mechanical Circulatory Support (VADs)

Mechanical circulatory support devices such as ventricular assist devices (VADs) help your heart pump blood. For some people, VADs work as a bridge to transplant. They can temporarily support your heart while you wait for a donor heart. For people with heart failure who are unable to get, or do not want, a heart transplant, VADs are a long-term treatment option (also known as destination therapy).

MUSC Health has the newest generation of devices, and our doctors take part in national clinical trials of other innovative devices. At MUSC Health, you have access to the latest, most advanced VADs available. Learn more about mechanical circulatory support (VADs) at MUSC Health

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). MUSC Health is the only hospital in South Carolina that offers ECMO.

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 genetics. Meet our team.