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Life after LVAD

Jimmie Hill

Olympic speed skater Jimmie Hill knew something was wrong when he lost his trademark energy. Ineligible for transplant surgery, cardiology specialists at The University of Kansas Health System used LVAD technology to help extend Jimmie's life. Read Jimmie's story.

Advanced Heart Failure

Advanced heart failure is a serious medical condition that requires high-level care. As an academic medical center, The University of Kansas Health System is uniquely equipped to provide you with the most advanced heart failure tests and treatments available in Kansas City. Our cardiologists are research leaders pioneering the next big breakthroughs in heart failure medicine.

To schedule a consultation with a cardiologist or request a second opinion, please call 913-945-9344. You can also request your appointment online. The University of Kansas Health System provides leading innovations for people with advanced heart failure in the Kansas City region and surrounding areas.

About advanced heart failure

When you are diagnosed with advanced heart failure, it means that your heart is not pumping blood efficiently to other important organs. When this happens, fluid can build up in the lungs, causing congestion, or congestive heart failure. As the heart works in overdrive to maintain blood flow, it starts to weaken and enlarge. Heart failure can affect one or both sides of the heart.

Symptoms and risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure. Early detection and diagnosis are critical for improving quality and length of life. Common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough or wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles or legs
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Reduced appetite and nausea

Learn more about the symptoms and risks of heart failure.

Diagnosis and treatment

Our advanced heart failure and transplant program includes a multidisciplinary care team consisting of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac nurse navigators and more. These specialists work together and share information and identify the best possible course of treatment for you. We offer:

Why choose us

Academic medical centers like The University of Kansas Health System are able to care for the sickest patients with the most complex heart issues. Our patients come from all walks of life – throughout the Kansas City region and beyond.

As the only hospital offering heart transplant surgery in Kansas, our hospital has become a destination for those seeking advanced heart failure treatment in Kansas City. Our heart failure and transplant services have been recognized for maintaining the highest standards of care.

  • U.S. News & World Report gave our heart failure program a perfect score in its 2016-2017 hospital rankings. No other heart failure program in the nation achieved this honor.

  • The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awarded us with the Gold Plus Achievement Award for heart failure as part of the Get With The Guidelines program.

  • Our program has also made the honor roll for heart failure as part of Get With The Guidelines.

  • Our participation in Get With The Guidelines demonstrates our commitment to quality care. Learn more about our recognition through this initiative.

Innovative treatments

We provide the best available heart failure therapies through leading-edge research. Our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are pioneers in their fields and among the most respected in the nation. With a long history of innovative, compassionate care, they use today's most sophisticated techniques and treatments, including:

CardioMEMS
The CardioMEMS™ HF System. Images provided courtesy of St. Jude Medical, Inc.

CardioMEMS™ HF System

The CardioMEMS HF System is an implantable wireless sensor, no bigger than a dime, that monitors pulmonary blood pressure and heart rate. The device instantly transmits reports to your care team, allowing them to adjust medications as needed and monitor heart function remotely.

ENTRESTO® and Corlanor®

Entresto and Corlanor are the most current and promising FDA-approved oral medications that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for people with heart failure. These treatments improve heart failure symptoms and enhance quality of life.

Helpful resources

If you are living with advanced heart failure, The University of Kansas Health System is here to support you. We offer a variety of resources for our heart failure patients, including:

What to expect

You will be cared for by a team of heart failure experts. Our team brings together an experienced staff that is solely dedicated to heart failure.

Our cardiologists are some of the best and brightest in the nation and come from the most esteemed cardiology programs in the country. The culmination of their interests, expertise and many years of experience ensures you receive reliable, yet innovative care.

  • Nurses: Our nurse practitioners have achieved national certification in heart failure. We also have nurses who specialize in heart failure care.

  • Others: Dietitians, pharmacists, case managers, social workers and palliative care providers offer much needed support services before, during and after your treatment.

A cardiologist and nurse specializing in cardiology will lead the team. Depending on your needs, your team may also include interventional cardiologists, heart rhythm specialists or heart surgeons. Because we are an academic medical center, we have access to the latest treatments and clinical trials.

Your cardiologist and nurse will work closely with you to ensure your treatment plan is effective. They will also offer guidance and resources to help you establish and maintain the healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. They will keep in touch with you and respond to your questions and concerns quickly.

Living with heart failure

Our goal is to keep you out of the hospital, enjoying your life. To do this, The University of Kansas Health System offers comprehensive, advanced heart failure outpatient care. We provide a number of support services and therapies to monitor your progress, promote health and provide education so you recognize the symptoms of heart failure early. 

Outpatient care for advanced heart failure serves as a bridge between inpatient services and at-home care. You'll have access to a wide range of conventional and advanced therapies, including:

  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • IV infusion
  • Social support programs
  • Individual healthcare directives
  • Medications
  • Labs
  • Lifestyle guidance

A dedicated team provides patient-centered, innovative care across the continuum – allowing you to receive specialized care at every point in the disease process. Outpatient care helps reduce readmission rates for many people, as well as provides an avenue for education and professional support.