The Penn State Health Approach to Heart Failure

If you are one of the five million-plus Americans living with heart failure — also called congestive heart failure — your heart is unable to adequately pump oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body. 

At Penn State Health, we offer advanced, comprehensive care to improve your heart’s health.
When you are diagnosed with heart failure, you may feel overwhelmed and have a lot of questions. Our cardiology team will work with you, your family and your primary care provider to develop a personalized treatment plan. We strive to manage your symptoms, protect your heart from further damage and restore your quality of life.

Advanced Care for End-Stage Heart Failure

If your heart failure does not respond to medical therapy, our team offers leading-edge surgical options and a level of care that is unmatched in the region. Our surgeons are skilled in innovative surgical treatments, including total artificial heart, heart transplant surgery and mechanical ventricular assist devices (VADs), often used as a short-term bridge to transplant.

Thanks to advances in VAD technology, these mechanical assist devices often serve as “destination therapy,” offering the promise of long-term survival without a transplant for patients who otherwise may have been considered ineligible for the treatment.

Experts in Care

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Heart failure is a chronic condition that will need ongoing treatment. Your ability to have a good quality of life while living with heart failure will depend on the health of your heart, underlying health conditions, age, weight and lifestyle habits. 

The heart failure team at Penn State Health will partner with you and your primary care provider to help you maintain your quality of life and avoid unnecessary hospital stays.

National Recognition for High-Quality Heart Care

The cardiology team at Penn State Health is among the nation’s finest in helping people prevent potential cardiac problems. Our multispecialty medical team is consistently recognized nationally as Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors. 

Recent awards include:

  • American College of Cardiology National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain MI Registry Platinum Performance Award
  • American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Plus Award 
  • Get With the Guidelines® Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll—American Heart Association

This advanced level of recognition signifies our team has met specific quality measures for diagnosing and treating heart failure consistently during the past 24 months. Hospitals that achieve gold-level status use the latest evidence-based guidelines to ensure appropriate patient care and reduce hospital readmissions.

View our awards and memberships

At the Forefront of VAD Innovation

In January 2021, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center became the second U.S. hospital to implant the EVAHEART2 left ventricular assist system (LVAS) in a patient with severe heart failure. The procedure was part of the COMPETENCE trial, a clinical evaluation of the device involving 40 clinical sites and 399 patients with severe heart failure. 

Penn State Health was an early pioneer in heart transplant and has led the way in VAD innovation since the 1970s, when surgeons at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center implanted the nation’s first Pierce-Donachy left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Building on this legacy, our heart surgeons are constantly testing next-generation devices and working closely with medical device manufacturers to give patients the best chance for long-term survival. 

A Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Our specialists offer more than just a comprehensive diagnosis of your heart failure. We are a team of medical, surgical and support specialists who work together to offer you solutions that help maintain your quality of life and prevent further damage to your heart. 

Your heart failure team works with other specialists in the Heart and Vascular Institute, including electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons, for surgical or interventional procedures. You may also see support specialists to help control symptoms and enrolled in our cardiac rehabilitation program, which includes nutrition guidance, smoking cessation, emotional support and weight reduction. 

All Penn State Health hospitals offer specialized care for heart failure. But when you need treatment that is even more specialized, such as a cardiac device extraction, you can be assured that advanced heart failure services are nearby at Hershey Medical Center. 

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

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Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered