Heart Failure Program

If you have heart failure, it means that your heart can't pump enough blood to the rest of your body. It's a condition with varying causes, and because it can develop quickly, be difficult to manage and be emotionally devastating, compassionate, expert treatment grounded in the latest research is critical.

Our UC Irvine Health heart failure specialists use state-of-the-science equipment and technologies to identify the cause of your heart failure, or cardiomyopathy, with a series of tests. The multidisciplinary team then works with you to stabilize your condition and identify a comprehensive treatment plan.

We are here to help you manage your heart failure, to restore you to health and have you living life to the fullest.

To make an appointment, call 714-456-6699.

Why choose us

About 5.7 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, according to the American Heart Association. Each year, it kills 55,000 people and is a contributing factor in another 280,000 deaths.

To combat this disease, the UC Irvine Health Heart Failure Program brings together a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, electrophysiology specialists and cardiothoracic surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center. We provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care to people with moderate to severe heart failure, making use of the most advanced, evidence-based medicines, devices, surgical therapies and technologies.

As part of Orange County’s only university hospital, our specialists also are leaders in research and clinical trials for heart failure and cardiomyopathy. The goal is to develop new treatment approaches through a large, active research program. Our patients benefit from this research, often gaining access to therapies long before they are available elsewhere.

The Heart Failure Program is the first such program in Southern California to earn the Gold Seal of Approval™  certification by The Joint Commission, the nation’s predominant, standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. The program also received the American Heart Association's Gold Plus Award for meeting the highest standard of care for heart failure patients.

Led by cardiologist Dr. Dawn M. Lombardo, medical director of the Heart Failure Program, the team also includes cardiologists:

In addition to our board-certified cardiologists, the team includes highly skilled nurse practitioners and a program coordinator.

Diagnosis

We use a variety of tests to diagnose heart failure.Our specialists look for evidence of infections, valve dysfunction, high blood pressure, previous heart attacks and other conditions that could lead to heart failure.

Our diagnostic tools include: 
  • Physical exam
  • Six-minute walk test
  • Lab tests
  • Electrocardiography
  • Angiography
  • Nuclear scans
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
  • Intracardiac echocardiography
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography
  • 3D Transesophageal echocardiography
  • Cardiac catheterization

We also may perform an endomyocardial biopsy, which involves threading a flexible tube through a vein to remove a small sample of heart muscle tissue for microscopic analysis.

Treatment options

Our specialists are experts in therapies to improve the heart’s ability to pump, increase blood circulation, remove excess fluid buildup and prevent abnormalities in heart rhythm.

Most heart failure and cardiomyopathy patients receive drug therapy as part of their treatment, including:
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Digitalis
  • Aldosterone inhibitors

Medication is typically used in conjunction with other therapies, including:

  • Pacemakers

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices, also known as biventricular pacemakers, make the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart contract simultaneously, resulting in better cardiac function. Some pacemakers combine biventricular pacing with defibrillation, which jump-start the heart or control abnormally fast or slow heart rhythms.

  • Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD)

These small pumps are implanted in the left ventricle of the heart. They provide mechanical support by helping to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body. These devices are used in people with advanced heart failure, as well as in patients awaiting heart transplantation.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Our comprehensive program offers education on symptom control and help to manage risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and other lifestyle changes.

Clinical trials

As part of your treatment, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials. Our researchers are engaged in basic, hemodynamic and clinical studies for cardiomyopathy, heart failure and cardiac transplantation.

Our research has led to breakthroughs in medical devices and drug therapies used to improve treatment of these life-altering conditions in our patients and heart failure sufferers around the world.

View our cardiology clinical trials ›

Make an Appointment

714-456-6699