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Jennifer Thibodeau, M.D. Answers Questions On Heart Failure and Heart Transplant

Jennifer Thibodeau, M.D. Answers Questions On: Heart Failure and Heart Transplant

What are the differences among the stages of heart failure?

There are four stages of heart failure, with the first two referring more to at-risk populations than to patients with active, confirmed disease.

Stage A refers to people at risk of developing heart failure because they have risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or coronary artery disease.

Stage B is made up of people who have structural heart disease that puts them at risk for developing heart failure but who have not experienced symptoms of it. This category includes people who have suffered heart attacks who have valve disease or whose hearts have been found to be weak by ultrasound or other imaging.

Stage C refers to patients with known heart failure and current or previous symptoms.

Stage D comprises patients with known heart failure who experience advanced symptoms despite being on good medications.

How effective are today's treatments for people with heart failure?

Today’s heart failure therapies can improve or alleviate heart failure symptoms – and even strengthen the heart in some patients.

Patients with advanced heart failure also have good options. People who continue to have symptoms despite drug therapies, can't tolerate medicines because their hearts are too weak, are frequently admitted to the hospital or require intravenous drugs to keep their hearts beating strongly may be candidates for cardiac transplantation, also known as a heart transplant, or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

What does UT Southwestern offer patients who require a heart transplant or left ventricular assist device (LVAD)?

UT Southwestern offers highly specialized care to patients whose heart disease has made them candidates for cardiac transplantation or mechanical circulatory assistance devices such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs).

Our dedicated transplant and LVAD program is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, and coordinators specially trained in cardiac transplant and LVAD care.

Specialists, including rehabilitation therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers, and financial coordinators enable UT Southwestern to provide comprehensive care and assistance to these patients.