Surgical Options for the Treatment of Heart Failure
Despite the significant decline in heart disease mortaht>' rates over the last 25 years, heart failure has remained a significant problem. We are now confronted with large numbers of terminally ill patients for whom conventional therapies for heart failure have been exhausted and for whom repeated hospital visits are necessary. There now is a major thrust towards a management strategy which embraces a comprehensive approach including vigorous preventive measures and earlier surgical interventions. This book outlines the major surgical options for the treatment of heart failure and brings together a very broad base of opinions with contributions from several outstanding individuals. With the improved knowledge and techniques to control rejection, transplantation has become the central pillar in the surgical management of this group of patients. Unfortunately, because of limited donor supply the teclmique cannot be applied to large numbers of patients. A great deal of excitement, however, exists in the potential for xenotransplantation as a supplement to homotransplantation. The use of cardiac assist devices has become a reality with several hundred LVADS and BiVADS implanted throughout the world and cardiac replacement with total artificial hearts continues to be used successfully as a bridge to transplantation. We are on the thieshold of the broad application of assist devices to provide prolonged relief of heart failure and restore patients to an ambulatoiy home environment and hopefully return to the work force in significant numbers.