Heart Failure

What is heart failure?

The term "heart failure" makes it sound like the heart is no longer working, when it really means that the heart isn't pumping as well as it should be.

What are the symptoms?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lack of appetit or nausea
  • Confusion or impaired thinking

What treatment options are available?

Heart Transplant

A heart transplant is an operation in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier, donor heart. While a heart transplant is a major operation, your chance of survival is good with appropriate follow-up care. 

Ventricular Assist Device

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) to the rest of your body. VADs are used in people who have weakened hearts or heart failure. When placed in the left ventricle they are called left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). 

You may have a VAD surgically implanted for two different reasons: Bridge to Transplant (BTT) or Destination Therapy (DT). Patients who are a good heart transplant candidate but are at risk for imminent death may receive the HeartMate II as a BTT while allowing more time for your heart and other vital organs to become strong enough to receive a heart transplant.  In Destination Therapy (DT), the HeartMate II can be used to provide long-term permanent cardiac support for patients who are not eligible to receive a heart transplant. At Baptist Health, we implanted our first DT HeartMate II in February 2010. We are currently the only hospital in the state that offers the HeartMate III and are in the top four centers in the country for the numbers of HeartMate III's that have been implanted.

Total Artificial Heart

The Syncardia Total Artificial Heart is a battery-operated device that contains the same components as a real human heart and serves as a bridge to transplant. Baptist Health is the first in the state to implant a Total Artificial Heart.

Baptist Health Heart Failure and Transplant Institute offers seamless care for advanced heart failure patients - from management to ventricular assist device to transplantation.

No other hospital in the state can offer this level of care.

Heart Failure Hot Line

You may have some anxiety about doing too much too soon, have questions about your medications, or simply need professional reassurance that symptoms you’re experiencing are not related to a new cardiac event. 

With the Baptist Health Heart Failure Hot Line, you have a convenient and valuable resource right at your fingertips. Baptist Health eICU care critical care nurses with a background in cardiology answer calls to the hot line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

To reach one of our specialized nurses, call 501-202-4200 or 1-844-250-8107 anytime, any day of the week. 

What are the patient outcomes?

The best advocates for the care you can expect from Baptist Health are the patients themselves. Hear success stories from a few of our patients.

Chadarius Johnson, Arkansas' first Total Artificial Heart Recipient

Dr. John Ransom, HeartMate III Trial

Gary Henson, HeartMate III Patient

Paul Lipsmeyer, Heart Transplant Patient (2:00)

When Paul Lipsmeyer's heart failed him, he knew he was in a fight for his life. What he didn't know is that his new heart would open up a whole new world for him. 

James Edmondson, Ventricular Assist Device & Heart Transplant Patient (4:13)

James Edmondson couldn't climb a flight of stairs without feeling fatigued. He would need a ventricular assist device while waiting for a heart transplant -- two procedures in Arkansas performed only at Baptist Health Heart Institute.

Chuck Simons, Artificial Heart Patient (2:58)

When Chuck suffered from a severe case of heart disease that would ultimately require a transplant, the HeartMate II implant gave him peace of mind while waiting for a donor heart.

Phoenix Bolden, Artificial Heart Patient (1:49)

Through cardiac rehab, Phoenix is learning about his ventricular assist device implant, improving his diet and growing stronger every day. 

Frankie Walker, Heart Patient

Frankie Walker was born amazing, but not perfect. At an early age, he and his family realized that he had inherited a serious heart condition from his father – an enlarged heart that needed immediate attention.

Baptist Health implanted a pacemaker when Frankie was only 21. However, Frankie didn’t slow down. As a musician and rapper, he continued to perform on stage. But when his heart couldn’t stay in rhythm, Dr. John Ransom determined that he needed a Heartmate LVAD to assist him until a donated heart for transplant became available.

As he waits for a heart donor, Frankie continues to write lyrics and enjoy spending time with his children. “Seeing them running, jumping, and playing – that’s what keeps me going,” says Frankie. “They’re my motivation.”

Courtney Osborn, Heart Failure Patient

Baptist Health Ventricular Assist Device (Artificial Heart) Statistics as of March 2015

  • Total implants since 2008: 300
  • Total HeartMate II implants in 2014: 35
  • 30-day survival for patients implanted in 2014: 100 percent
  • One-year survival for patients implanted in 2013: 86.2 percent

Physician Referral Form

Medical professionals interested in referring a patient to our clinic, please complete this referral form in its entirety, to ensure efficient scheduling. Please do not hesitate to call our clinic with any questions about our program.

Helpful Links

ARORA (Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) 

UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) 

SRTR (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients) 

Transplant Living