Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant

Experts At Heart

For more than 25 years, physicians from Central Texas and beyond have turned to the Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center at Seton Medical Center Austin as a trusted partner in providing the most advanced cardiac care and heart failure management to their patients. Seton Medical Center Austin is now the only hospital in Central Texas to have earned Joint Commission certification for a Destination Therapy Ventricular Assist Device Program and Heart Transplant Certification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Our Patient Coordinator is available 24/7 by calling 512-681-0500 or toll-free 877-377-3866.

Advanced Heart Failure

As part of the Seton Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center, the Advanced Heart Failure Program helps primary physicians and their patients manage heart disease through an array of services, including:

  • Consultation with an Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant specialist
  • Follow-up visits and co-management, if desired
  • Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Device (VAD) treatment options
  • Patient education including: disease process, medications, diet and activity
  • Social services, palliative care, medication education, dietary counseling and financial consultation.

Our goal is to minimize symptoms and hospital stays, reduce ER visits, improve quality of life, and increase success rate. Patients who may benefit from referral are ACC/AHA Stage C or D or NYHA Class III or IV. Additionally, persons with more than two of the following risk factors should be referred for consultation:

  • AHC/ACC Stage D
  • Hemodynamic instability
  • On or being considered for inotropic therapy
  • NYHA Class III-IV HF symptoms
  • LVEF < 35%
  • Inability to walk more than one block without SOB
  • HF hospitalizations in the past six months
  • CRT non-responder
  • Lasix dose of > 1.5 mg/kg/day or dose equivalent for other loop diuretics
  • Intolerance to, dose reduction, or withdrawal of ACE-I, ARB, Beta-Blocker because of hypotension
  • BUN > 40 or CR > 1.5
  • Serum Sodium < 135
  • Considering hospice

Heart Failure Patient Manual

Download our Patient Manual for in depth information:

Heart Transplant

As the only heart transplant center in Central Texas, the Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center is at the forefront of cardiac care. We serve patients with chronic heart failure who are candidates for heart transplant and those who have already received a transplant and require follow-up care. The team performs an average of 13 heart transplants annually, with more than 85% of our adult patients surviving a year or longer after surgery. Since the program began in 1986, the team has transplanted more than 355 hearts.

Heart Transplant Process

For more in depth information, download the “Heart Handbook” provided by the International Transplant Nurses Society.

Mechanical Circulatory Support

Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

VADs, or Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Devices, are emerging as promising treatment for heart failure. A VAD is surgically implanted in the chest and assists the failing heart by helping it pump more effectively. Prior to the implant surgery, the patient and his or her caregivers will be educated on the device.

A VAD may be recommended for a heart failure patient if he or she is not responding optimally to medical therapy and/or pacing therapy. Appropriate heart failure patients may benefit significantly from a VAD in terms of both improved quality of life and improved survival. VADs are currently used in three scenarios:

  • Bridge to Transplant (BTT) – The VAD is implanted and used to support the patient until a heart transplant can be performed.
  • Destination Therapy (DT) – The patient is not a candidate for or does not want a transplant. In this case the VAD supports the patient for the rest of his or her life. In severe HF patients, VADs have been shown to be superior to medication for improving both quality of life and survival.
  • Bridge to Recovery (BTR) – At times, immediately following heart surgery, the heart needs support beyond medication. A VAD can be used to provide that support and then be removed once the heart has fully recovered. This type of temporary VAD support may also be needed for some forms of HF, such as that caused by viral infections.

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

ECMO provides cardiac and respiratory support oxygen to patients whose heart and lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function. Seton Medical Center Austin is the only hospital in Central Texas to offer ECMO support, including a Critical Care Transport Team that services a sixty mile radius.

Pulmonary Hypertension

For patients with pulmonary hypertension, our goal is to provide the treatment, knowledge, and assessment tools that will enable them to live as normal a lifestyle as possible. That’s why we bring together the multidisciplinary expertise of board-certified critical care pulmonologists and cardiologists to provide patients with a complete evaluation and individualized treatment plan. Our social workers, dietitians, financial counselors and specially trained registered nurses work closely with patients and their families to ensure that proper support is provided to those coping with this difficult illness. All members of the treatment team strive to work closely and maintain communication with any other physicians involved in the patient’s care.