Advanced Heart Failure Program

Advanced Heart Failure Program image

The advanced heart failure program team at St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana takes a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. The program's success is a result of the combined expertise of specialists including:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers

With a dedicated inpatient unit and a reputation for excellent follow-up care after discharge, the advanced heart failure program continues to provide outstanding cardiac care through evidence-based therapies.

For patients who have experienced a heart attack, the following tests may be performed:

Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG is one of the first tests conducted after a heart attack. test to show the electrical conduction of the heart will be one of the first used to diagnose a heart attack. By measuring the electrical activity in the heart, an ECG can identify injured areas of the heart muscle.

Cardiac nuclear scan: During a cardiac nuclear scan, radioactive material is injected through an IV to identify areas of the heart that are not allowing blood to flow properly.

Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram can help identify whether an area of the heart has been damaged by a heart attack. Using sound wave technology, it can provide images of the heart and detect poor heart wall motion, which is an indicator of heart damage.

Cardiac catheterization: Cardiac catheterization can help determine whether your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. A small catheter is inserted through the groin and guided to the arteries of the heart. Liquid dye is then injected into the artery, which allows the physician to visualize the coronary arteries and areas of blockage. If blockage is discovered, the affected areas can be treated while the catheter is in place with a procedure called angioplasty.

Percutaneous cardiac intervention (PCI): Similar to cardiac catheterization, this PCI can treat blockage by using balloon angioplasty or by placing a stent. Balloon angioplasty is a catheter with a balloon tip that is guided through the arteries to areas with blockage. The balloon is then opened, which pushes plaque back against the arterial wall, allowing for improved blood flow.

Coronary stenting often accompanies angioplasty. Stents are small wire mesh devices used as scaffolding to support and open the arterial wall, which reduces the chance that the artery will re-close.

Coronary artery bypass surgery: For those who have heart disease, approximately 10% will undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Those with severe narrowing or blockages — especially those involving multiple arteries — may be considered for bypass surgery.

The operation is performed while a patient is under general anesthesia. The surgeon takes a healthy vessel from the leg, chest, or arm and creates a bypass around the blockage, restoring blood flow to the heart muscle. Typically, one to five bypasses can be done, depending upon how many coronary arteries are blocked. A CABG procedure usually requires about a five-day stay in the hospital and up to three months to fully recover from the surgery.