Heart Failure

M Health Fairview Heart Care surgeons were pioneers in heart transplants, performing the first heart transplant in Minnesota in 1978 and the state’s first heart/lung transplant in 1986.

Specialties that diagnose or treat this condition:

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If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, it means your heart muscle isn’t pumping effectively, and blood isn’t circulating properly.

There are two kinds of heart failure. With systolic heart failure, your heart becomes enlarged and weak. With diastolic heart failure, the heart muscle becomes stiff and can’t pump efficiently. When fluids back up into your lungs, it is called congestive heart failure. Heart failure can be congenital, such as a hole in your heart, or caused by diseases of the heart muscle, such as cardiomyopathy, preventing the heart muscle from pumping properly. Kidney disease can also cause heart failure.

If you have heart failure, you may gain weight, be short of breath or wheeze, fatigue easily or have a racing heartbeat. A cardiologist may use a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram or lab tests to diagnose your heart failure. Several medications exist to reduce heart failure symptoms, but when your condition is advanced, a heart transplant may be the best option.

Our Approach

Combining advanced technologies with compassionate patient care, M Health Fairview Heart Care is a team of cardiologists, surgeons, nurses and other medical specialists who will support you from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Providers in our CORE Clinic are specially trained to help you manage your heart failure and improve your quality of life by avoiding hospitalizations, slow the progression of your disease, and detect heart problems before they become life threatening.

If your treatment involves a heart transplant, you can relax knowing that our program is one of the best. Our survival rates are well above the national average for patients after three, five, and 10 years. Our surgeons were pioneers in heart transplants, performing the first heart transplant in Minnesota in 1978 and the state’s first heart/lung transplant in 1986. Most of our patients leave the hospital fewer than two weeks after their transplant, and 80 percent survive five years or more.

Our physicians are involved in many heart failure and ventricular assist device clinical trials to keep our team on the forefront of new treatment options, and we are one of the few sites in the United States approved to train surgeons in transplant technologies. We perform 20 to 30 heart transplants annually, making our program among the top 10 to 15 percent in the United States.

We are honored to be recognized with the following awards for our heart failure care within M Health Fairview Heart Care:

U.S. News & World Report

Fairview Ridges Hospital, high performing in heart failure care

Fairview Southdale Hospital, high performing in heart failure care

University of Minnesota Medical Center, high performing in heart failure care

Get With the Guidelines Awards

Fairview Ridges Hospital, Gold Plus Award in heart failure

Fairview Southdale Hospital, Gold Plus Award in heart failure

University of Minnesota Medical Center, Gold Plus Award in heart failure


Treatments, Tests, and Procedures

Heart Transplant

Those suffering advanced heart failure have the odds stacked against them. To beat those odds, M Health Fairview Transplant Care has performed over 900 high survival, heart transplants – making us one of the world’s longest running heart transplant providers.
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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – or ECMO – supports your cardiac or respiratory function if you have an acute injury or illness that is reversible. It will enable your heart or lungs to recover, or extend your life while waiting for a heart or lung transplant.
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Heart Failure Management

If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, your heart muscle isn’t pumping effectively, and blood isn’t circulating properly. When fluids back up into your lungs, it is called congestive heart failure. Our specialists can help you manage your condition.
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Left Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

The VAD consists of an implantable heart pump that is connected to your left ventricle by an inflow cannula. The pump takes over from your left ventricle. Then the blood flows to the outflow cannula, which is connected to your aorta, enabling the blood to flow to the rest of your body.
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There may be other treatments, test, and procedures for this diagnosis, including:

  • Heart (Cardiac) Surgery
  • Medical Management
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Cardiac-Assist Devices (Berlin Heart, HeartMate II)

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.