Skip to cookie consent Skip to main content

Treatment Program

Advanced Heart Failure

Mass General Brigham Heart provides treatments for a range of heart disease conditions that result in severe heart failure. Our world-class specialists are experts in using the most up-to-date medications, as well as ventricular assist devices (VADs) and transplantation. 

male provider using stethescope on neck of older male patient in exam room

About the advanced heart failure program

Our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, cardiac surgeons, radiologists, nurse practitioners, social workers and other specialists work together to care for the complex needs of our patients. Together this team offers innovative treatments for the most severe forms of heart failure including coronary bypass and valve repair or replacement when appropriate, mechanical ventricular assist devices, and transplantation when necessary.

Because of the breadth of our experience, complex patients receive the best possible outcomes. We continue to develop new strategies for improving heart function through innovative research and clinical trials.


Conditions we treat

Symptoms of advanced heart failure

Symptoms may include:

Our cardiac transplant program is the largest in New England. Our surgeons have deep experience in transplantation and we have superb outcomes. If that’s what our patients need, we are the best possible place to go.

Thor Sundt, MD
Director, Cardiac Surgery Clinical Service
Mass General Brigham Heart

Causes and risk factors of advanced heart failure

Advanced heart failure is primarily caused by diseases that weaken the heart muscle or the arteries in and around the heart. The most common include:

Diagnosis of advanced heart failure

Advanced heart failure diagnosis through the use of advanced testing and specialized cardiac imaging, including:

Approach to treatment for advanced heart failure

Our physicians are leaders in treating advanced heart failure and other complex heart conditions. 

Our cardiologists work closely with patients and referring physicians to develop treatment plans that prevent the progression of heart failure and delay or avoid hospitalization. These medical treatments can include:  

  • Lifestyle and nutrition education
  • Dietary adjustments
  • Medications to manage blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart
  • Physical activity and exercise programs

Procedures may be required for some patients, depending on the diagnosis and severity of their advanced heart failure. Our physicians are experts in treating patients using complex or combination surgical procedures. Surgical options might include:

  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Heart transplantation
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation
  • Valve repair surgery or catheter procedure
  • Valve replacement surgery or catheter procedure

VADs aid the heart’s pumping ability in patients with advanced-stage heart failure. A small device is implanted next to a patient’s heart and can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute, covering the full output of a healthy heart. There are several types of VADs, with left ventricular-assist devices (LVADs) being the most used.

VADs are typically used for:

  • Patients who need additional cardiovascular support while waiting for a transplant
  • Destination or permanent therapy for end-stage heart failure patients
  • Temporary support after heart attack or during high-risk cardiac intervention

Devices used at Mass General Brigham Heart are designed for patient-specific needs. In addition to currently available devices, our team uses innovative and investigational devices. These cutting-edge devices are smaller, more durable, quieter, and have been shown to improve survival and quality of life.

Advanced heart failure research and clinical innovation

Physicians at Mass General Brigham Heart have revolutionized medical care for advanced heart disease. Whether it’s an improvement to a mechanical ventricular assist device or transplantation research to increase the number of donor organs available to patients, we are at the forefront of the latest discoveries, bringing clinical breakthroughs directly to our cardiology patients.

Learn how our physicians and surgeons performed their first bloodless heart transplant and are giving a new option that parallels the life prolongation of heart transplantation: implantation of a fully magnetically levitated LVAD

News & highlights