St. David's HealthCare
September 23, 2020

Austin, TX—Heart Hospital of Austin announced today the launch of its Advanced Heart Failure Program, a mechanical circulatory support program that provides device therapies to treat patients who suffer from advanced heart failure.

The program features two key therapies—extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and left ventricular assist device (LVAD). ECMO is a temporary therapy designed to assist the function of the heart, the lungs or both. The LVAD is a durable, long-term support device that mechanically pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

“We are committed to providing leading edge treatment options for our patients,” David Laird, chief executive officer of Heart Hospital of Austin, said. “With the addition of the Advanced Heart Failure Program, we have broadened therapy options available to those living with advanced heart failure.”

More than half a million Americans are currently living with advanced heart failure, many of whom need, but are not eligible for, a heart transplant due to underlying medical conditions or the risk of complications. While the LVAD can provide short-term support for those who are anticipating a heart transplant, the technology can also provide an extended and improved quality of life to patients who are not able to receive a transplant.

“This particular LVAD can serve as a bridge to transplant—or as a long-term therapy for patients with advanced heart failure,” Jerome Thomas, M.D., medical director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program, said. “Patients can live an active, full life with an LVAD.”

The HeartMate 3 device is a technological advancement in LVAD technology that has improved blood flow to help minimize complications, such as blood clots, to ultimately improve a patient's quality of life. The device features full magnetic levitation technology to optimize blood flow and maintain blood integrity. Its external control device is approximately the size of a cell phone. 

“Our goal is to get patients back to their everyday lives,” Jonathan Yang, M.D., surgical director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program and cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, said. “The therapies provided through the Advanced Heart Failure Program allow us to provide the best possible outcomes.”