Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis together are recognized as a leading international center in the treatment of heart failure and the use of artificial heart assist devices as temporary or permanent support systems.

The heart failure team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital offers referring physicians a comprehensive referral service that ranges from a single-session consultation to the treatment of critically ill patients who require immediate institution of end-stage life support therapy.

The program tailors therapies to patients according to their condition and needs. It provides the latest generation of artificial heart assist devices as a temporary support system or “bridge to transplantation” for patients awaiting heart transplants. And it was among the first centers in the country with expertise in using ventricular assist devices as permanent support for patients with end-stage heart failure who are not candidates for transplant.

The ventricular assist device (VAD) destination therapy program has earned the Gold Seal of ApprovalTM from the Joint Commission, the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

High Volume Provides Experience

Washington University heart failure specialists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital see more than 600 new congestive heart failure patients each year. This high volume has helped the program gain experience with a wide spectrum of conditions and thus to achieve excellent clinical outcomes as a major Midwest referral center.


Innovative, high-quality and cost-effective care is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The following resources are provided to heart failure patients and their referring physicians:

  • Tailored medical therapy
  • Advanced pharmacological therapies/drug trials
  • Inotropic infusion clinic
  • Cardiac diagnostic imaging, including PET and MRI
  • Diagnostic/interventional cardiac catheterization
  • Electrophysiological intervention
  • Heart transplantation
  • High-risk myocardial revascularization
  • High-risk valve repair or replacement therapy
  • Temporary and permanent ventricular assist devices

Heart Failure Team

The Heart Failure and Artificial Heart Program uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat patients throughout the continuum of the disease, in collaboration with the patient’s referring physician. Each patient is treated by a team of medical professionals dedicated to long-term care:

  • Heart failure cardiologists
  • Cardiothoracic surgeons
  • Heart failure nurse specialists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Cardiac pharmacologists
  • Exercise physiologists
  • Dietitians
  • Cardiac social workers

Indications for Treatment

Physicians should consider referral if their congestive heart failure patient has one or more of the following:

  • Congestive heart failure of moderate severity (NYHA Class II-IV)
  • Hospital admission for CHF within a six-month interval
  • The need for increasing doses of heart failure medications
  • Prescriptions for three or more heart failure medications
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Been considered for coronary bypass surgery or valve replacement surgery with low ejection fraction

Physician Resources

For a consultation regarding a heart failure patient, call:

(888) 800-9484 (toll free)
(314) 362-7260