The Center for Advanced Heart Failure and Mechanical Cardiology Support, the only such center in the region, is an area of special care at WVU Medicine. It provides IV inotropic therapy to stable outpatients with advanced heart failure, with a goal of improving functional level and avoiding hospitalization. The center is an important resource for the state, reducing the number of emergency room visits and lowering health costs for heart patients. Many patients receive treatment through medication. The treatments are especially useful for patients who are at the maximum dosage of other heart drugs, people awaiting a heart transplant, or people who have a heart muscle disease. The treatment also helps patients breathe more easily.

Quick Facts about the WVU Medicine Advanced Heart Failure Program

  • Provides IV inotropic therapy to stable outpatients with advanced heart failure, with a goal of improving functional level and avoiding hospitalization
  • One of 16 national sites of excellence to offer the CardioMEMS™ HF system, the first and only FDA-approved heart failure (HF) monitoring system proven to significantly reduce HF hospital admissions and improve quality of life in NYHA class Ill patients

Recognized for Excellence in Heart Failure

The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute received the Get With The Guidelines®-Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation’s secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure. This includes meeting quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients, including evaluation of the patient, proper use of medications, and aggressive risk-reduction therapies. Before patients are discharged, they also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, a scheduled follow-up visit, and other care transition interventions. View Certificate

CardioMEMS HF System

It is estimated that patients who monitor their congestive heart failure with the CardioMEMS system may reduce their risk for sudden hospital readmission by almost 37 percent. We are designated as one of 16 national sites of excellence by the device manufacturer, and we are the only site in West Virginia currently offering this procedure. WVU Heart and Vascular Institute physicians are proud to be able to offer this technology to our patients.

Ensuring Jaime’s Ability to Enjoy Being a Mom

Congestive heart failure patient Jaime explains how Dr. George Sokos of The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute saved her life.

Contact Us

For an appointment, call 855-WVU-CARE (855-988-2273).

The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute was the first in West Virginia to successfully implant the life-saving heart pump known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Now, patients in West Virginia and nearby states no longer need to leave the state to obtain this heart failure therapy.

About 6.5 million American adults are living with heart failure, and that number is expected to increase 46 percent by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. In West Virginia, heart failure is the most common heart-related reason for hospital admission and readmission. Depending on its severity, most cases of heart failure can be managed with medications, pacemakers, or surgery. When those treatments are not options, heart transplantation or a heart pump, such as the LVAD, is necessary.

About the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a pump used for patients who have reached end-stage heart failure. An LVAD does not replace the heart. The device is implanted under the skin. It assists the patient’s own heart to pump blood from the left ventricle of the heart and on to the rest of the body, decreasing the work of the left ventricle.

Photo credit: Abbott

A control unit and battery pack are worn outside the body and are connected to the LVAD through a port in the skin.

The LVAD can be used two ways:

Bridge-to-transplant, which means it can help a patient survive until a donor heart becomes available for transplant. This option may be appropriate for people whose medical therapy has failed and who are hospitalized with end-stage systolic heart failure. As a bridge-to-transplant, the LVAD allows the patient to be discharged to an outpatient setting while waiting for transplant.

Destination therapy, which is an alternative to heart transplant. Destination therapy provides long-term support in patients who are not candidates for transplant.

The LVAD may provide blood pressure support; maintain or improve other organ function by improving blood flow to the kidneys, liver, brain, and other organs; and when used as destination therapy or bridge-to-transplant, improve the patient’s strength and ability to participate in activities such as cardiac rehabilitation. This also means patients can return home with the LVAD and continue normal activities. In order to receive an LVAD, patients undergo tests to determine whether they are good candidates for the device.

What are the risks of the LVAD implantation procedure?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to the LVAD implantation procedure. Our physicians and staff monitor patients closely to prevent and manage any complications related to the device. Our physicians will discuss the specific risks and potential benefits of this procedure.

Contact Us

For more information about the LVAD procedure, schedule an appointment with WVU Medicine. For an appointment, visit our appointment information page, call 855-WVU-CARE (855-988-2273).

Christopher Bianco, DO


Assistant Professor
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile855-WVU-CARE

Marco Caccamo, DO


Associate Professor, Assistant Director of Pulmonary Hypertension and Assistant Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support in the Advanced Heart Failure Program
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile855-WVU-CARE

George Sokos, DO, FACC


Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Heart and Vascular Institute - Morgantown; Director, Advanced Heart Failure; Associate Professor of Medicine
WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital
View Profile855-WVU-CARE