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Saint Thomas Heart

Heart Failure

The Saint Thomas Heart Advanced Heart Failure program is the largest in Middle Tennessee, serving over 5,000 patients. We treat patients in all stages of heart failure. 

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Heart failure, or Congestive Heart Failure, affects people of all ages. About 5.7 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure. It is the leading cause of hospitalization among patients over 65, with more than 400,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Heart failure occurs when your heart muscle weakens and no longer pumps enough to supply your body.

Symptoms of heart failure can be subtle and may include:

  • Shortness of breath, which can happen during mild activity
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Weight gain with swelling in the legs and abdomen from fluid retention
  • Fatigue and weakness

How is Congestive Heart Failure Treated?

When heart failure patients are evaluated at to Saint Thomas Heart, they can expect to have an extensive review of their individual histories with careful consideration of issues that can impact their heart failure progression, symptoms and treatment.  If you have heart failure, your doctor will monitor you closely. Follow-up appointments are recommended at least every 3 to 6 months, but sometimes much more often. You will also have tests to check your heart function often on a yearly basis.

For some patients with severe heart failure who have exhausted traditional forms of treatment such as medication and exercise, a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) or Heart Transplant may be an option.

Call to Action: Locations and Contact Info

  • Saint Thomas Heart includes Nashville-based specialized heart failure clinics at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital, as well as Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro. In addition, our cardiologists see patients in more than 25 clinic locations throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Click on the map icons below to reveal the address of an office location nearest you. To schedule a patient appointment at any Saint Thomas Heart location, please call 800.345.5016.

Call to Action: Heart Assessment

Patient Education- Living with Heart Failure

Heart failure is a term that doctors use when your heart does not pump as it should. Managing your Heart Failure is important in helping your heart work at its best. Click below to learn more.

Our Doctors


“A New Lease on Life”

Daniel Lonon, VAD/Hip Golfer - Nothing Shall Be Impossible

Read the Full Story

Heart Transplant

Saint Thomas Heart boasts one of the most experienced cardiac surgery programs in the nation. For more than 40 years, Saint Thomas Heart surgeons have treated patients with the latest in cutting edge surgical treatment options - ranging from minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, cardiac bypasses to implantable mechanical heart pumps and transplants.

In 2016, Saint Thomas hired Dr. Ashok Babu as surgical director from the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver and received certification from the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant networks and transplant centers. Dr. Babu and the Saint Thomas Heart Transplant Center now perform approximately 20 heart transplants per year.

Experience and outcomes matter when choosing a hospital for your heart surgery. Saint Thomas Heart surgeons have vast experience and expertise in all areas of heart surgery.


First Heart Transplant at Saint Thomas Health

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The Saint Thomas Heart VAD Center is committed to meeting the needs of the sickest heart failure patients in Middle Tennessee, Northern Alabama and southern Kentucky by providing lifesaving and life changing results through the use of implantable VADs-or Ventricular Assist Devices. VADs are designed for patients with severe heart failure who have exhausted traditional forms of treatment with medication. A VAD implant takes over the pumping function of the heart. It is surgically attached to the left ventricle and the aorta- the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body. An external, wearable system—that includes a small controller and two batteries-is attached by an external driveline. The wearable system is either worn under or on top of clothing.

VADs can be used to support patients and improve their quality of life while they wait for a donor heart to become available. This is known as "Bridge-to-Transplantation." However, in some cases, patients may not be a candidate for a heart transplant due to age or other related medical conditions. In this instance, a VAD may be used as a permanent option. Usage of the device in this manner is known as "Destination Therapy." Without this therapy, advanced heart failure patients would have extremely poor prospects for survival and a very limited lifestyle. Destination therapy has been proven to prolong life and improve quality of life in appropriate candidates.

Saint Thomas Heart is a Destination Therapy certified program in Middle Tennessee. This means that Saint Thomas West Hospital is a provider certified to offer the newest battery operated heart pump as a life-saving permanent solution to treat congestive heart failure. We are also certified to provide VAD support with the most up-to-date technology.

HeartMate 3 LVAD Clinical Trial

Saint Thomas West Hospital is currently one of 60 select centers chosen to evaluate the Thoratec® HeartMate™ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), a new advancement in mechanical circulatory support (MCS). The MOMENTUM 3 Clinical Trial is designed to evaluate the performance and safety of the HeartMate 3 LVAD in subjects with advanced heart failure.

To learn more about the clinical trial, click here.

Call to Action: Contact Info

For more information about the Saint Thomas Heart VAD Center, please call 888.655.LVAD (5823)

Patient Testimonials

Ruby Howell - A heart transplant wasn't an option for Ruby. But destination therapy was. Through the combined care of the cardiac specialists at Saint Thomas Heart at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital, Ruby's heart was given new life by implanting a ventricular assist device (VAD) which helps the weakened heart pump blood throughout the body. Now Ruby's improved strength has allowed her to get back to what she loves most - singing in the choir at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.