Surgical Procedures for Heart Failure

Updated:Sep 20,2012

coronary arteries Surgery isn't frequently used to treat heart failure. However, it's recommended when the doctor can identify a correctable problem that's causing heart failure – such as a defect or a blocked coronary artery (View an illustration of of coronary arteries) . Surgery also may be needed when the heart failure is so severe that it can't be helped with medications or dietary and lifestyle changes.

What surgical and other medical procedures might be used?

Surgical Procedures for Heart Failure

Heart failure can develop when blockages in the coronary arteries restrict the blood supply to the heart muscle. Removing these blockages can improve overall heart function, which may improve or resolve heart failure symptoms. PCI is one type of procedure to reopen blocked vessels. The procedure is usually performed in the cardiac catherization lab. A small tube – a catheter – with a tiny deflated balloon on the end is inserted through an incision in the groin area and pushed through to the diseased artery. Then the balloon is inflated to push open the artery. The balloon is removed once the artery has been fully opened. A stent may be placed during the procedure to keep the blood vessel open. Although there's a slight risk of damage to the artery during this procedure, PCI usually improves the patient's condition.

"This content was last reviewed on 08/20/2012."

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Heart Failure Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Questions to ask your doctor

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