Advanced Heart Failure Program

Dr. Celeste Williams, Advanced Heart Failure Physician

When you have advanced heart failure, traditional treatments such as medication and angioplasty may not be enough to improve your symptoms. This does not mean you are running out of treatment options. As one of the only advanced heart failure programs in southeast Michigan, our team of highly trained specialists cares for even the sickest patients.

Henry Ford advanced heart failure program

Our unique program combines clinical expertise with a range of advanced treatments. We offer temporary (bridge to surgery or transplant) and permanent solutions for all forms of advanced heart failure (congestive heart failure).

  • Seamless care: Our team meets weekly to develop personalized treatment plans for each patient.
  • Expertise: Our team also includes board-certified specialists in advanced heart failure and heart transplant cardiology. These doctors have expert knowledge and skills in all facets of advanced heart failure care.
  • Range of treatments: We offer the full spectrum of treatment options including transplants through our nationally renowned heart transplant program.
  • Best available technology: Our active participation in research and clinical trials means that we can offer the newest available drugs and devices. Learn more about our left ventricular assist device program.

As a referral center, we treat patients from all over the Midwest. Whether you are experiencing the disease’s early symptoms or you need emergency care, we can help.

  • If you are in the early stages of the disease or your symptoms are currently under control, you can get the care you need from one of our cardiologists. Learn more about cardiology.
  • If your condition is more serious, you may benefit from seeing one of our advanced heart failure specialists. We can usually see new patients in our clinics within a week. We also accept emergency transfers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Download our Heart Failure brochures. These brochures offer information and tools to help you manage your condition.

Advanced heart failure care in Michigan

Only a small number of people with heart failure reach advanced stages of the disease. When this happens, you need help from doctors with experience and special training. As one of only three advanced heart failure programs in Michigan, we offer comprehensive care that includes:

Our program features a large team of specialists, each with expertise in all the different aspects of advanced heart failure care. Working together, we develop customized treatment plans based on your medical condition and you and your family’s preferences.

Our team of experts includes:

  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Advanced heart failure cardiologists
  • Nurses
  • Nutritionists
  • Patient financial assistance
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Social workers
  • Ventricular assist device coordinators
  • Transplant coordinators

You will meet with many members of our team. Here is what to expect:

  • Our nurse coordinators help manage your care and testing. You should feel free to ask them questions at any time. In fact, our nurse coordinators are available by phone 24 hours a day.
  • Our expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons meet with you to perform a comprehensive exam and explain your treatment options.
  • Other members of our team help you plan for treatments as well as arrange for care and support between appointments.

Cardiac testing

We use many tests to diagnose and monitor your condition. You may have already had one or more of these tests. We work closely with all referring cardiologists to get as much information about your condition as possible. Our goal is to conduct additional testing only if it is absolutely necessary. Our testing may include:

  • Blood tests: To examine problems that might make your heart failure worse
  • Echocardiogram: Using sound waves, we produce high-resolution images of your heart and valves
  • Imaging tests: Examine how well your heart pumps blood and how much damage there may be
  • Cardiopulmonary (metabolic) stress testing: Measures the performance of your heart and lungs while you are exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle
  • Right heart catheterization: Looks at how well your heart is pumping. This procedure can also measure pressure in your heart and lungs. We perform this test in our cardiac cath lab.

We conduct cardiovascular testing in dedicated cardiovascular labs where sophisticated equipment and specially trained doctors and technologists come together to provide fast and accurate heart function tests. Learn more about expert diagnosis available in our cardiovascular testing labs.

Medication management

Many people with advanced heart failure can get better without surgery. Using medication management, we prescribe one or more medications based on your unique needs.

These medications:

  • Help your heart muscle pump better
  • Keep your blood from clotting
  • Lower your cholesterol levels
  • Open up blood vessels or slow your heart rate so your heart doesn't have to so hard
  • Reduce damage to your heart
  • Reduce your risk of abnormal heart rhythms
  • Rid your body of excess fluid and salt (sodium)

Our team’s pharmacists, doctors and nurses work together to make sure you are getting the right medications in the right doses. You may need to come back for frequent follow up visits at the beginning of your program so we can monitor your progress and adjust your program if necessary.

Heart procedures

If lifestyle changes and medications aren’t working, a heart procedure may improve how well your heart functions and prevent further damage. We expertly deliver a range of non-surgical procedures as well as many forms of heart surgery:

  • Angioplasty: Using a catheter (thin, spaghetti-like tube) with balloon tip, we open narrow or blocked arteries near your heart.
  • Coronary bypass surgery (CABG): Using one of your own blood vessels we reroute blood around a blocked artery
  • Heart valve surgery: Procedures to repair or replace your heart’s valves so that blood can move freely through your heart chambers. Learn more about structural heart disease treatments.
  • Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD): Implantable electric devices that take over your heart’s pumping action. Learn more about our left ventricular assist device program.
  • Pacemaker or defibrillator: Implantable devices to help control an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). Learn more about atrial fibrillation treatments.
  • Transplant: If your heart failure is so severe that no other form of treatment is helping, you may need to have your heart replaced with a donor heart (transplantation). Learn more about heart transplantation at the Henry Ford Transplant Institute.

Left ventricular assist devices

Some people start to feel better with the help of a special device that takes over the heart’s pumping action. Also known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), we have been offering this life-saving treatment since 1993.

At the forefront of advanced heart failure care, we are proud to be among a small number of programs offering newly approved devices, such as the HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System. Learn more about our left ventricular assist device program.

Heart transplant

Sometimes, the best treatment includes replacing a diseased heart with a healthy one. Our experience in this area goes back to 1985 when we performed the first heart transplant in Detroit.

The nationally renowned Henry Ford Transplant Institute offers the most advanced therapies, including newly approved medications to reduce complications following your procedure. Learn more about heart transplantation at the Henry Ford Transplant Institute.

Learn more about heart surgery at the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute.

Make a cardiology appointment

Request an appointment or call (844) 725-6424.