John L. Locke Jr. Advanced Cardiac Support Program
The Swedish Advanced Cardiac Support Program is for patients with heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump the necessary amount of blood throughout the body. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive approach to patient care that improves quality of life, reduces unnecessary hospitalizations and reduces mortality.
The Advanced Cardiac Support team includes physicians with special training in cardiology and heart failure, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and medical assistants. We have a dedicated pharmacist to assist with medication management, as well as a dedicated dietician to address common nutritional challenges associated with heart failure. We also provide access to an experienced social worker to help guide patients throughout the process of diagnosis and treatment.
Some patients with heart failure may need special treatment called mechanical circulatory support. This includes heart-lung machines called ECMO and mechanical heart pumps called LVADs. The Advanced Cardiac Support Program is a nationally recognized ELSO Gold Center of Excellence for ECMO, and we are fully accredited and certified LVAD program.
Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump a normal amount of blood throughout the body. This can lead to a syndrome of swelling, shortness of breath, and a lack of energy. Heart failure is a very common and serious disease: it will affect one in four people over the age of 40 in the United States and, once diagnosed, 50% of patients will survive five years. The John L Locke Jr. Advanced Cardiac Support Program is here to help heart failure patients feel better and live longer by optimizing existing therapies while aggressively pursuing cutting edge technologies and novel treatments. The Program is a multidisciplinary team of subspecialty trained Advanced Heart Failure Physicians, Advanced Practice Clinicians, Pharmacist, Nurses, Dietician and Social Worker.
While there are many therapies to treat, stabilize, and even reverse the progression of heart failure, the disease will usually get worse over time. The term “Class IV Heart Failure” is used to describe severe heart failure wherein the heart cannot pump enough blood to properly support the body. The Advanced Cardiac Support Program takes special care of this population; our multidisciplinary team reviews each case on a weekly basis with a focus on improving survival and quality of life. Some patients with Class IV Heart Failure may benefit from advanced therapies like left ventricular assist devices (also known as LVAD) or heart transplant. Our physicians have advanced training in LVAD and transplant; our nationally accredited LVAD Program consistently achieves above average survival, and our experienced physicians have successfully partnered with local and national transplant programs throughout the years. The program has a higher than national average survival for LVAD and lower rates of comorbidities.
Cardiogenic shock is a serious condition in which the heart is critically ill and becomes acutely unable to supply blood to the body. Nationally, 50% of patients who are hospitalized with cardiogenic shock do not survive. Physicians at the John L Locke Jr. Advanced Cardiac Support Program lead a shock response team that has improved cardiogenic shock survival at Swedish to 77%. Working collaboratively with physicians from critical care, cardiac surgery, and interventional cardiology, our cardiogenic shock team can treat patients with special heart-lung machines called Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (or ECMO for short). Our ECMO Program has consistently superior outcomes and survival rates; the program was recognized for having achieved Gold Status by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (one of six programs on the West Coast) and recently earned national certification for quality and patient safety with Det Norske Veritas (one of three programs nationally). In 2020, the Advanced Cardiac Support ECMO Program treated the first person in the continental United States for COVID and recorded the first survival for COVID with ECMO.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory process wherein clusters of abnormal tissue are deposited throughout the body. When sarcoid affects the heart, it can cause inflammation and sometimes scarring of the heart tissues; this is called Cardiac Sarcoidosis. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, fainting, dizziness, and heart rhythm problems. Swedish Advanced Cardiac Support physicians have special training in the care of cardiac sarcoidosis and our multidisciplinary team provides wrap-around support for patients and their families suffering from this condition. We work collaboratively with other sarcoid specialists, including lung doctors and heart-rhythm doctors, to ensure that our patients receive the best care.
The Swedish Advanced Heart Failure Program is a leader in the field of cardiac Amyloid diagnosis and treatment. Amyloidosis is a broad spectrum of diseases that occur when abnormal proteins are deposited throughout various tissues and organs in the body. Cardiac amyloidosis happens when these abnormal proteins invade the heart muscle, thickening and weakening it such that the heart is unable to relax and fill with blood. Patients suffering from cardiac amyloidosis may feel short of breath due to the heart’s inability to pump enough blood. Cardiac amyloidosis also increases the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Swedish Advanced Cardiac Support physicians have special training in the care of cardiac amyloidosis and our multidisciplinary team provides wrap-around support for patients and their families suffering from this condition. We work collaboratively with other amyloid specialists, including specialized blood doctors called Hematologists to ensure that our patients receive the best care.
The Advanced Cardiac Support Program has a long history of managing genetic cardiomyopathies for the region. Offering free genetic testing for many of the common genes that can cause cardiomyopathies as well as genetic counseling should any abnormality arise. The program focuses not only on optimal patient specific therapies but addressing the disease with family members that may also be affected or are interested in being assessed.
The Swedish Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy program is a multi-s=disciplinary program of Heart Failure Cardiologists, Cardiac Surgeons, Advanced Imaging Cardiologists and Interventional Cardiologists. This condition requires high quality precision imaging with both echocardiogram and MRI that requires advanced understanding of the imaging modalities. Patients are thoroughly assessed for their hemodynamics, genetics, medication management and risk for sudden death. Both surgical and minimally invasive interventional procedures are both offered at Swedish as is assistance navigating the medical system and pharmaceutical costs to obtain the novel therapies emerging in the field.
The Swedish Advanced Heart Failure Program is a leader in remote monitoring of patients with heart failure. An early adopter of the virtual visit as a large proportion of our patients come from beyond the Seattle Metropolitan area. Swedish was one of two programs west of the Mississippi to participate in the original Cardiomem CHAMPION Trial. This is a microchip implanted in high risk patients to closely follow their degree of heart failure and allow optimization of medications from afar. This gives our most at risk patients very close a regular observation to maintain stability and improve therapies.
Swedish Heart and Vascular has a long history of being the only or the leading enroller in the Pacific Northwest for most of the clinical trials over the past decade that have shaped the field of heart failure. Not only is the focus to optimize medications that are proven to reverse the effects of heart failure but also to engage our patients in novel therapies that treat the disease. One major area of emphasis is so-called diastolic heart failure, also known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. HFpEF is the fastest growing form of heart failure in the United States and despite many clinical trials, there are no definitive treatments. The Advanced Cardiac Support Program is a leading recruiter for clinical trials of novel therapies for HFpEF that we hope will someday cure this disease.
Visit our Research and Clinical Trials page to learn more and view what's currently available.
A patient, patient's family member or referring provider can request an appointment. We are committed to seeing each patient as soon as possible. Physician referrals for outpatient evaluation, physicians may print, complete and fax the Advanced Cardiac Support Program Referral Form.
Watch our videos to learn more
The Advanced Cardiac Support Program at Swedish treats patients with forms of congestive heart failure. The goal of the program is to help patients manage their symptoms and keep them out of the hospital.
Meet Pastor Derek Forseth, an Advanced Cardiac Support patient whose whole life changed on Christmas morning of 2019.
His only chance at survival was ECMO, a therapy that could support his heart and lungs while they healed. Swedish was the only hospital in the region that could offer it.
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