True Coordination of Care: Our New Advanced Heart Failure Program

Advanced Heart Failure ProgramWe’ve experienced quite a bit of growth and expansion over the last few years here at Emory Healthcare, and with that growth, our patients are continually afforded a more collaborative and integrated total care experience. When Saint Joseph’s Hospital became part of the Emory Healthcare family earlier this year, for example, two of the state’s leading heart and vascular care providers became one, making comprehensive cardiac care a seamless process for our patients.

Every day we take steps to make receiving care at any one of our Emory Healthcare facilities more convenient and our latest effort has resulted in one of the most comprehensive heart failure treatment programs in the country. The new Advanced Heart Failure Program, is a cardiac network that includes the expert care from subspecialists at Emory University Hospital (EUH), Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM) and Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta.

For over 20 years Emory Healthcare and Saint Joseph’s Hospital have had the largest advanced heart failure programs in Georgia and the new collaboration will focus on meeting the needs of patients and referring physicians across the Southeast. EUH, EUHM and Saint Joseph’s have established cultures of excellent multidisciplinary care with emphasis on the lives of patients and families dealing with heart failure. We are excited to expand the bond of physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and others in improving outcomes for those we serve.

The surgical heart transplant services at Saint Joseph’s Hospital will be the only component of its current heart failure program to move to a new campus—transplants now will be performed by Emory Transplant Center surgeons only at Emory University Hospital. Heart failure patients will receive pre- and post-operative care from their physician of choice at Saint Joseph’s, EUH and EUHM. Patients in need of advanced heart failure management, medical and surgical management of all heart conditions and related therapies may access treatment at any of the three facilities. Saint Joseph’s patients on the heart transplant wait list are in the process of being transferred to transplant centers of their choice, including Emory. Their status and place on the wait list will not be impacted since it is regulated by UNOS.

The program’s services also will include the surgical implantation of ventricular assist devices (VADs) at Emory University Hospital and Saint Joseph’s—a growing enterprise because of improved technology—and the medical management of VADs at all three hospitals.

The goal of the program is for all of our heart failure and transplant patients to experience enhanced coordination of their overall care and increased communication between their medical and surgical specialists.

The program currently has five cardiologists who are certified in advanced heart failure and transplantation and a number of other cardiologists pursuing certification who will be available to see patients. The Emory School of Medicine has an accredited advanced heart failure and transplantation fellowship training program for cardiologists. In addition, Emory is one of only nine centers in the country that is a member of the Heart Failure Clinical Research Network (HFCRN), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Earlier this year, Emory received a seven-year, $2.7 million grant to develop heart failure clinical trials, with additional funding down the road to carry them out. Dr. Javed Butler, professor of cardiology, is principal investigator. As part of our new merger, Saint Joseph’s will participate in upcoming HFCRN trials, too.

 

About Andy Smith, MD, Director of Heart Failure and Transplantation, Bahgat/Smith Endowed Chair in Heart Failure Therapy and chief of cardiology at EUH

Dr. Andrew Lee Smith, Emory HealthcareAndrew Lee Smith, MD joined Emory University’s faculty in 1992 and established the Center for Heart Failure Therapy and Transplantation, a specialty practice for treatment of patients with heart failure in all stages (early to end stage) of the disease. Under his leadership, heart failure outpatient visits have surpassed 5000 annually, over 500 heart transplant procedures have been performed since the program began, and the Ventricular Assist Device program is strong and growing. Dr. Smith is recognized as an innovative leader in the treatment of heart failure and most notably for his work in collaboration with electrophysiologists on cardiac resynchronization therapy which lead to FDA approval for these devices. To learn more about Andrew Lee Smith, MD, check out Dr. Smith’s physician profile.

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