Surgery for Cardiomyopathy & Heart Failure

At NYU Langone’s Heart Failure Advanced Care Center, a team of heart specialists performs surgery to manage the symptoms of cardiomyopathy and heart failure. This can include implanting temporary or permanent mechanical devices that perform the work of the left ventricle, or performing a heart transplant. Experts at the Ventricular Assist Device Program implant and monitor this device, called a ventricular assist device.

Your doctor can help you determine which procedure is right for you. The choice usually depends on the severity of your symptoms.

Ventricular Assist Devices

For people with heart failure that hasn’t been successfully managed by other treatments, a left ventricular assist device can be surgically implanted to help blood circulate through the body. This mechanical device takes over the left ventricle’s job of continuously pumping blood to the body. It can be implanted permanently, or temporarily for people awaiting a heart transplant.

Our cardiac surgeons implant this device during open heart surgery, in which a large incision is made in the chest, and the sternum, or breastbone, is opened with surgical tools. A heart–lung machine performs the work of these organs during the procedure, so the heartbeat can be stopped to allow for surgery.

After surgery, you typically remain in intensive care for several days so you can be monitored. After you return home, your doctor may advise not driving for up to two weeks and not lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds for up to 6 weeks.

Heart Transplant

If heart failure has progressed to the point that your heart can no longer function without medical assistance, you may be a candidate for a heart transplant. In this surgery, doctors remove a severely diseased and failing heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a donor.

Doctors at NYU Langone are board certified in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology and can perform a heart transplant evaluation, if appropriate.

Postprocedure Care

Postprocedure treatment begins as soon as you are stable. A Rusk Rehabilitation physiatrist—a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine—partners with your heart surgeon and cardiologist to oversee your recovery.

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