Heart failure (also called congestive heart failure) means your heart muscle is not working as well as it should. There are two kinds of heart failure — systolic and diastolic. Systolic heart failure means the lower left chamber of your heart (left ventricle) is not contracting with enough force. Systolic heart failure is also called heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (EF). Diastolic heart failure means the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles) are stiff and cannot relax and fill with blood properly. Diastolic heart failure is also called heart failure with preserved EF. Ejection fraction is the measurement of blood that is pumped out of your heart with each heartbeat.
If you have heart failure, your treatment plan should be designed to help prevent your condition from getting worse, control your symptoms and help you have the best quality of life possible. A multidisciplinary team of caregivers who specialize in heart failure can provide advanced treatment therapies to patients with the condition.
The George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery is one of the premier facilities in the United States for heart failure treatment. Our multidisciplinary team includes experts in Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Infectious Disease, Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacy, Nutrition, Bioethics and Social Work.
- The Kaufman Center Heart Failure Intensive Care, Unit, is a recipient of the Beacon Award of Excellence for continuing improvements in providing the highest quality of care for patients. Thecenter is part of a distinguished group of Gold award recipients for sustaining the highest level of performance in quality standards in patient safety and patient satisfaction.
- We have a special nursing unit designed for less critical heart failure patients. The staff developed and uses a multidisciplinary checklist and program to make sure every patient knows how to manage their heart failure after they leave the hospital. The use of this checklist has reduced readmission rates and improved patient satisfaction.
- Since 2011, Cleveland Clinic has maintained the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure GOLD Plus Certification for improving the quality of care for patients with heart failure. Gold Plus distinction recognizes hospitals for their success in using Get With The Guidelines treatment interventions. This quality improvement program provides tools to guide evidence-based therapies and procedures in managing heart failure across the continuum of disease progression.
What We Treat
The George M. and Linda H Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery Team specializes in the care of patients with:
- Heart transplant
- All types of heart failure
- Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction
- Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
- Heart failure due to cancer therapies
- Heart failure due to valve disease
- Heart failure due to arrhythmias
- Inherited disorders that cause heart failure
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Ischemic cardiomyopathy
- Giant cell myocarditis
- Other types of myocarditis
- Peripartum cardiomyopathy
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy
- Amyloidosis related heart failure
- Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Cardiac sarcoidosis
- Advanced congenital heart disease
- Cardiogenic shock
Services Provided for Patients with Heart Failure
Every patient receives personalized testing and treatment to best meet their needs. Cleveland Clinic providers use the most advanced technology and research to ensure the highest level of care.
Our doctors make sure patients are taking the correct types and amounts of medications needed to keep their heart failure from getting worse, avoid hospitalization and reduce their risk of dying. Our nurses, dietitians and cardiac rehabilitation team help patients understand and plan their diet, exercise and lifestyle changes so they can control heart failure symptoms and enjoy as many regular activities as possible.
Remote Monitoring: We use devices such as the CardioMEMS Heart Failure system to remotely keep track of patients’ conditions. This small implanted device monitors the patient and alerts the medical team before the patient feels symptoms. Based on the information, the medical team can make changes to the patient’s medications and help avoid the need for hospitalization. Our team also uses virtual visits. This use of a secure video connection lets patients have follow-up visits without coming to the office when an in-person visit is not needed.
Electrical Device Management of Heart Failure: Some patients with advanced heart failure may benefit from the use of electrical devices. One type of therapy uses a biventricular pacemaker and is often referred to as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). For those who qualify, the additional pacemaker wire can improve heart function and quality of life. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may be used to reduce the risk of death by preventing life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.
Interventional Management of Heart Disease in patients with Heart Failure: Cleveland Clinic interventionalists work closely with heart failure cardiologists and surgeons to provide non-surgical treatments such as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), MitraClip and TMVR, and Complex and high risk coronary artery disease interventions. These procedures are options for some patients who are considered moderate-to-high risk for surgery and have:
- Aortic valve disease
- Mitral valve disease
- Complex coronary artery disease
Surgical Management of Heart Failure: We offer a wide range of Surgical management for patients with heart failure. Advances in minimally invasive, robotically assisted, thorascopic and percutaneous approaches are beneficial for patients who are high-risk for surgery. Cleveland Clinic surgeons have been pioneers in performing high-risk conventional heart surgery coronary bypass or valve surgery with the use of minimally invasive temporary assist pumps as an alternative to heart transplant or implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD).
- High Risk Coronary artery bypass surgery
- High Risk Valve surgery
- Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) device implantation
- Heart transplant
Why choose Cleveland Clinic for your care?
Please review our facts and figures. Since 1995, Cleveland Clinic has been ranked the No. 1 hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.
The Cardiac Transplantation Program at the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery began in 1985. Since then, staff surgeons have performed more than 2000 heart transplants and several dual organ transplants, including heart/liver, heart/lung and heart/kidney transplants.
Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Devices
The Kaufman Center for Heart Failure has more than 25 years of experience in the use of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices. These include both short-term mechanical support devices such as ECMO and Impella™ pumps, as well as implanted durable ventricular assist devices (VADs), such as the HeartMate3 LVAD and Heartware HVAD. The use of LVADs, along with advances in medical therapy, allows for improved treatment for patients with heart failure.
- Learn more about our ventricular assist device outcomes.
- Learn more about ventricular assist devices.
Specialized Programs for Patients with Heart Failure
- Specialized Centers: Members of the Kaufman Center team are part of or work collaboratively with multidisciplinary centers to care for patients with heart failure who have complex medical problems:
Heart Failure Classes: Group classes for patients with heart failure and their family members are led by a team of nurses, exercise specialists, dietitians, pharmacists and respiratory therapists. The classes provide information about heart failure and tips to successfully manage the condition.
The Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery provides a single location where cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurses, nutritionists, cardiac rehabilitation professionals, and clinical and basic research scientists can work together toward the common goal of treating patients with conditions such as cardiomyopathy and controlling heart failure symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fluid retention, and swelling. The team is dedicated to improving patient care, providing education, research and promoting a healing environment.
Our doctors use the combined resources of the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute to accurately diagnose the cause of each patient's heart failure, which allows them to create the best possible treatment plans based on each patient’s own needs. The central idea behind our mission is "excellence through teamwork"
Physicians who are on the staff of the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery have dual appointments in either the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine or the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery as well as in the Multi-Organ Transplant Center. This allows us to make the best possible use of services and creates greater access to research resources.
Heart Transplant Program
Ventricular Assist Device Program
Tomsich Family Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Heart Failure
- Chonyang Albert, MD
- Paulino Alvarez, MD
- Pavan Bhat, MD
- Sanjeeb Bhattacharya, MD
- Andres Carmona Rubio, MD
- Jerry Estep, MD, Head, Section of Heart Failure and Transplant Medicine
- Emanuel Finet, MD
- Mazen Hanna, MD
- Andrew Higgins, MD
- Karlee Hoffman, DO
- Eileen Hsich, MD
- Miriam Jacob, MD
- Karen James, MD
- Ran Lee, MD
- Maria Mountis, MD
- Randall Starling, MD, MPH
- Ziad Taimeh, MD
- H. Wilson Tang, MD
- James Young, MD
- Edward Soltesz, MD- MPH, Surgical Director of the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure and Recovery
- Nicholas Smedira, MD
- Michael Tong, MD, MBA, Surgical Director of Cardiac Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support
- Shinya Unai, MD
- Aaron Weiss, MD
Heart Failure Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants
- Nancy Albert, PhD, CNS
- Mary Johnson, MA
- Tracy Matejka, PA
- Rebecca Reay, CNP
- Maria Schuenaman, RN
- Allison Standifer, RN
- Alexus McCoy, BSN, RN
- Melinda Williams, MA
Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants for Transplant and MCS Service
- Tiffany Buda, MSN, RN, NE-BC Clinical Nursing Director, Solid Organ Transplant/MCS
- Kristin Forbes, ACNP
- Chad Gady, PA-C
- Sheryl Hostutler, BSN, RN
- Brian Loveland, ACNP
- Kim Miracle, ACNP
- Susie Raspovic-Hopper, BSN, RN
- Jessica Salindo, BSN, RN
- Mallory Spieth CNP
- Marjorie Urban, ACNP - LVAD Coordinator
- Luke Williams, ACNP, EMT-Paramedic
Inpatient Nurse Practitioners for Heart Transplant
- Emily Porter, CNP
- Jennifer Reese, CNP
- Tiffany Buda, MSN, RN, NE-BC Clinical Nursing Director, Solid Organ Transplant/MCS
- Alexandria Dillard, NP-C, MBA, CCTC, Manager of Heart Failure and Heart Transplant
- Danielle Bork, BSN, RN
- Elizabeth Buenrostro, BSN, RN
- Carin Grobolsek, BSN, RN
- Deanna Hartman, BSN, RN
- Janna Mutum BSN, RN
- Jocelyn Piskach, BSN, RN
- Robyn Cecil – Transplant Program Assistant
- Monica Gervais, CNP, CCTC
- Jacqueline Iammarino, CNP
- Karen Kiefer, CNP, CCTC
- Kerri Ross, BSN, RN
- Lyndsay Pankratz, CNP
- Crystal Kawczynski – Transplant Assistant
- Kay Kendall, MSW, LISW
- Alexandra Sakai, MSW, LISW
- Terrence Roncagli, LISW
- Kathleen Faulkenberg, PharmD, BCPS, FHFSA
- Lucy West, PharmD, BCCP
- Brad Williams, PharmD, BCCP
Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing: Some patients with heart failure can benefit from the use of specialized biventricular pacemakers and ICDs to help control abnormal heart rhythms. We have a team of electrophysiologists who specialize in rhythm disorders and devices that are consulted as needed.
Section of Cardiovascular Imaging: Members of The Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute’s team of imaging specialists are experts in diagnosing underlying heart conditions that can lead to heart failure.
Other members of the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery team include pharmacists, dietitians, bioethics, nurses, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, radiologists, infectious disease, specialists, and researchers.
Make an Appointment
The George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery is one of the premier facilities in the United States for the care of people with advanced heart failure.
To be evaluated for a left ventricular assist device, call the LVAD team at 216-445-3366.
To refer a patient please call the LVAD team at: 216-445-3366.
The phone number listed for either a LVAD evaluation or referral provides immediate access to the LVAD team who will address your needs promptly. We will need information about the patient and will ask for medical records to assist this process.
To make an appointment, please call toll-free 800.659.7822 Cardiology Appointments.
Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. Once we receive it we will follow-up with you as soon as possible.
Some patients can now see our specialists through virtual visits, using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Why go virtual? It's an easy, convenient and secure way to see your provider face-to-face without having to leave home. This saves you travel time, parking fees and time spent in the waiting room — and you can also have a loved one or caregiver join you. If appropriate, you can also get a prescription sent to the pharmacy of your choice.
New patients may use virtual visits to plan their care when they come to Cleveland Clinic.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of virtual visits, so check with your insurance company ahead of time. Interested in getting started? Call your provider to find out what virtual visit options are available.
Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET):
Toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 49162
What to Expect
Whether you are coming to Cleveland Clinic from around the corner or around the world, we want you to know what to expect before, during and after your visit. If you have any questions while reviewing this information, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Before your appointment
Important information for patients who are coming to see a cardiologist in the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery.
If your appointment is scheduled at least one week away, you will be asked to send your records, including medical history, test results and films (such as echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, MRI or CT), prior surgery and intervention reports, and device implantation reports. All information should be sent in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified U.S. mail (make sure you have a tracking number) to the physician you will be seeing.
The address is:
Kaufman Center for Heart Failure
9500 Euclid Avenue – Desk J3 - 4
Cleveland, OH 44195
If your appointment is less than a week away, please contact the physician’s office for a fax number to fax records. If you do not have a fax machine, please bring your records and films to your appointment.
Important information for Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery Surgical patients.
Heart Transplant or LVAD evaluations: Patients who are evaluated for a heart transplant or LVAD evaluation take part in a specialized program that begins at the pre-surgery stage and continues through hospitalization and recovery. Communication occurs through the Heart Transplant office. Please review the complete process on the Heart Transplant Program Website.
Other Heart Surgery: If you would like to be evaluated for other surgical procedures, such as high-risk valve surgery or bypass surgery, please contact the Heart Surgery Intake Team at 877.843.2781 (877-8Heart1) 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST, Monday – Friday. If you have any questions, the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Resource Nurses are available to answer questions.
Traveling to Cleveland Clinic
We would like to make traveling to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible. If you have any questions, please visit: Information on travel to the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute.
During your appointment
You will first meet several members of our team including someone who will collect your information and begin your evaluation. The diagnosis and treatment of heart failure involves:
- Thorough history and exam
- Diagnostic imaging studies
- Patient management and recommendations
You will then meet with a physician from the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery who will review your records and prior films, take a medical history and perform a physical exam.
Depending on your history and prior testing, you may need to have specialized imaging tests.
Depending on the tests you need, your cardiologist will either meet with you later that day to review the tests with you and determine if you need additional consultations with other Center specialists. Or, your cardiologist will follow up with you by phone.
Your cardiologist will provide you with specific instructions on your plan of care.
How long will you stay at Cleveland Clinic?
To complete all testing, you will need to stay in the Cleveland area 1 to 2 days. It is best to confirm the length of your stay with your cardiologist’s office prior to making travel plans.
After your visit
Because symptoms of heart failure vary from patient to patient, your need for follow-up care will be tailored to your needs and discussed with you during your visit.
- The Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery continues to participate in many clinical research studies. The goals of research are to manage acute heart failure, improve long-term survival, improve patient care and outcomes, minimize postoperative morbidity among patients who have heart transplants, and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of MCS devices.
- Personnel from the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery have leadership roles in United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), and the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS). UNOS is a national registry for pre- and post-heart transplantation. ISHLT is an international registry for heart transplantation. INTERMACS is a national registry for patients with ventricular assist devices and total artificial hearts.
- Scientists in the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure, in collaboration with members of the Lerner Research Institute, study cardiovascular genomics and research directed at the failing human heart in our research labs.
Total Artificial Heart
- The Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery medical team, along with Biomedical engineers at Cleveland Clinic, are working to develop a continuous-flow total artificial heart, or CFTAH. Initial results are promising.
Clinical trials (or research studies) help us create the medicine of tomorrow. They provide hope through offering testing of new drugs, new surgical techniques or other treatments before they are widely available.
We can help you access hundreds of clinical trials across all specialty areas. Our new searchable online trials tool makes identifying treatment opportunities easier than ever.
Fellowship and Residency Programs
The Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation section has an advanced fellowship training program begun in 1995. The curriculum is designed to teach the principles of heart failure and cardiac transplant patient management. After completion of this training program, participants qualify to serve as a Medical Director of a UNOS-certified heart transplant program.
The Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has a formal postgraduate fellowship training program in cardiac transplantation that began in 1993. The program continues to attract outstanding candidates from a national and international pool who spend a year working exclusively with the transplant and heart failure program.
The staff of The Kaufman Center for Heart Failure Treatment and Recovery has published over 1000 peer reviewed articles and numerous book chapters, abstracts and presented at national and international meetings. Peer reviewed manuscripts are available on PubMED at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/