The Duke Heart Center’s nationally recognized approach to heart failure treatment effectively manages symptoms and dramatically reduces the frequent hospitalizations often associated with the disease. Our approach has proven so effective that hospital readmission rates for our heart failure patients dropped 12 percent last year. Our team of cardiovascular specialists in Durham, Raleigh and beyond see more than 3,600 heart failure patients annually. Our goal is to provide you with the care you need, when you need it, so you have the best quality of life possible.
Comprehensive approach to heart failure
Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, requires advanced treatment and long-term care. As one of the nation’s top-ranked heart centers, we have the resources and expertise to provide successful long-term management of congestive heart failure symptoms and related conditions. Our approach is hands-on and comprehensive. We offer the most current therapies available and continually seek out new and better ways to tailor our care to your cardiac needs.
Choose Duke for your heart failure treatment because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke’s heart experts 6th in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform, and the quality of the support services.
- A proactive approach to treatment. Your condition will be monitored closely by our team of specialists -- in and outside of our offices -- to ensure your needs are promptly met and potential problems are identified early, before they reach a critical stage.
- Same-day symptom relief. If you need immediate relief, you can access the state’s only acute heart failure clinic with infusion capabilities. Our goal is to help you avoid an emergency room visit or overnight hospital stay.
- Novel treatments through clinical trials. Because we are one of only nine U.S. centers in the National Institutes of Health's Heart Failure Clinical Research Network, you may have access to major heart failure clinical trials, and your treatment options may include the most current advances and technologies, including studies of stem cell therapy and other advances.
- Disease management. Our heart failure rehabilitation program teaches you how to live with your disease. If you receive an implanted device, you’ll participate in our specialized clinic that ensures the device is continually fine-tuned for optimum performance.
- Extensive surgical experience. Duke is among the top five programs in the nation for the number of procedures performed for two of the most common heart failure treatments –left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation, and heart transplantation.
Heart failure may be managed using one of the following therapies, which aim to improve how your heart and/or valves function, and how your blood flows to your heart and the rest of your body.
First choice in treatment for conditions that lead to congestive heart failure such as hypertension, and heart failure symptoms, including fluid retention. Our expert team selects the right medications to optimize your quality of your life, and potentially improve your heart function.
This minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure, also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), uses a balloon to open blocked arteries, and is typically coupled with stent placement to retain the opening. Our team is nationally recognized for the roughly 3,000 interventional cardiac catheterizations performed annually, and its use of the most advanced technologies. We constantly evaluate the best times to use angioplasty and stenting so we can accurately identify the best candidates for the procedure, especially during non-emergency settings especially when the goal is to improve the heart's pumping function.
This complex surgical procedure re-routes blood flow around a blocked artery using vessels taken from elsewhere in the body. Improving blood flow to the heart muscle may be an important way to recover the pumping function of the heart. Duke cardiac surgeons have performed more than 20,000 heart bypass procedures to date. Our annual volumes consistently exceed those recommended by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology as indicators of care quality. We’ve developed a strong reputation for successful outcomes, and often see excellent results when treating patients who are at significantly higher risk. Learn more about heart bypass.
Improve the pumping capacity of the heart and can be used as a long term therapy to improve symptoms of heart failure and increase survival. You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials evaluating the newest VAD technologies, which gives you access to novel devices before they are widely available. Learn more about ventricular assist devices (VADs).
Patients with advanced heart failure may be candidates for a heart transplant. Our extended criteria transplant program has provided hearts to patients who would otherwise not have been candidates. It also uses donor hearts that would otherwise have not been transplantable. Learn more about heart transplants.
Detailed images of the heart may be obtained through cardiac catheterization, which uses catheters guided into the heart and contrast dye to assess pumping capacity. Images may also be obtained via echocardiography, which uses ultrasound to provide images of the moving heart.
Radio waves and magnets create still and moving images of the heart and vessels. When appropriate, MRI may be used in place of radiation to minimize exposure when frequent testing is necessary.
A biopsy or sample of heart tissue may be taken during cardiac catheterization or a separate procedure, and analyzed in the lab for signs of diseases that can cause congestive heart failure, including cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscle) and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart). Biopsy may also be used to look for signs of rejection in a transplanted heart.