Advanced Heart Failure Care at Drexel Cardiology
What Is Heart Failure?
The heart is the engine that pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In heart failure, the heart is not working at its best and the delivery of oxygen to your organs is reduced. Heart failure can cause shortness of breath, swelling, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, memory loss, stroke and decline in vital organ function. Another common symptom of heart failure is congestion, or the build-up of too much fluid in tissues and veins. When fluid builds up and the body becomes congested, this is known as congestive heart failure. Heart failure is most often caused by years of high blood pressure, previous heart attacks and uncontrolled arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm or pulse).
Advanced Heart Failure Care
At Drexel Cardiology, our heart failure team has experienced cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses and other professionals who specialize in the care of patients with heart failure.
Our primary focus is to improve the quality of life of patients with heart failure. We offer support and treatment options including advanced cardiac devices, transplant before- and aftercare, long-term mechanical support and medications. Our team understands that working together with you, your caregivers and other care providers is critical. We are available at any time to discuss concerns and provide assistance.
Our heart failure team offers comprehensive care at the conveniently located Drexel Cardiology. For patients with less severe heart failure, we work to prevent progression of disease by close supervision and access to the latest therapies. For our end-stage heart failure patients, care is provided by board-certified physicians who are trained specifically in advanced disease management and therapies. Our doctors have over 30 years of experience in the management of heart failure and heart transplants.
Treatments for Heart Failure
There are many treatment options for patients living with heart failure, and with the correct therapies, patients can expect to enjoy a good quality of life. Our specialists are experts in the current therapies for heart failure, and we participate in clinical research trials to treat it. Drexel Cardiology provides access to new therapies that are not offered elsewhere, which can improve patient outcomes. Close medical supervision by our team can help you to manage your condition at home instead of in the hospital.
For those with end-stage heart failure, which is when medications for heart failure no longer help and other surgical options have been exhausted, the risk of death is high. Treatment options for this stage are more limited and require appropriate expertise to manage. Treatment options for end-stage heart failure may include a ventricular-assist device (VAD) or heart transplantation.
Ventricular-Assist Devices (VADs)
A VAD is a pump that assists a weakened heart by propelling blood from the heart to the rest of the body. VADs do not replace the heart, but instead assist the heart in delivering blood to the body after being permanently attached to the heart during a surgical procedure.
Heart transplantation is a surgical procedure where your heart is removed and replaced by a donor heart. Heart transplantation is only appropriate in a highly select group of patients because of the risk and side effects of the procedure and the aftercare.
If heart transplantation is the appropriate treatment, our specialists will help manage your health before and after the procedure. For the best heart surgery results, patients with heart failure must follow a strict medication treatment plan, keep careful track of their body weight and fluid intake, and make important dietary and lifestyle changes. Our staff helps patients monitor their status, manage their symptoms, and teach self-care skills which are critical to maintaining health. After the procedure, our support network of nurses, nutritionists and psychologists help patients make permanent life changes that ensure good health and the best possible outcomes.
Blood Test for Transplant Rejection
After heart transplantation, patients face a slight risk that their body will reject the donor organ. As a result, they must be monitored carefully for signs of rejection so that their immunosuppressant drug therapy can be adjusted. Until recently, heart muscle biopsy, a time-consuming and uncomfortable invasive procedure, has been the best way to detect rejection.
Now, a safe, convenient, and reliable blood test to detect rejection has become available. Drexel Cardiology is proud to have pioneered this study, which spares patients from having multiple invasive biopsies. The test measures molecular signals in the blood that indicate rejection and can alert physicians to the process before cardiac damage occurs. The blood test may be used in patients who are 15 years of age or older and who are at least two months past their transplant surgery.
Drexel Cardiology's heart failure specialists are located at 219 N. Broad Street, 2nd Floor, in Center City Philadelphia. View map and get directions.
Meet the Doctors
Cardiology Division Chief
Dr. Howard J. Eisen is chief of the Division of Cardiology at Drexel University College of Medicine. His areas of expertise include heart failure and heart transplant care. He has cared for heart transplant patients since 1995, making him one of the most experienced transplant cardiologists in the world. Dr. Eisen is working to improve care of heart failure and heart transplant patients by using noninvasive procedures to diagnose transplant rejection and by participating in research studies for heart failure patients.
Learn more about Dr. Eisen.
Medical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Cardiac Transplantation
Dr. Shelley Hankins, medical director of the Transplant and VAD program, specializes in heart failure and heart transplant care. Dr. Hankins is the director of the Mechanical Assistance Destination and Heart Transplant programs. She has developed a care plan using ventricular assist devices in those patients who are not candidates for transplant surgery.
Learn more about Dr. Hankins.
Heart Failure/Transplant Cardiologist
Dr. Farhan Hasni practices cardiology in Center City Philadelphia. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology.
Learn more about Dr. Hasni.
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.