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Program Update - Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center

Optimal management to ensure the best outcomes in advanced heart disease


Innovation in Cardiomyopathy Care

The Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center provides complete care for patients with cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle. With a team of renowned experts representing a range of medical specialties, the UCLA center provides detailed, comprehensive evaluation, the latest medical technology and the most advanced management techniques to ensure that all patients — from those with heart disease risk factors or early cardiomyopathy to advanced and highly complex cases of heart failure — receive optimal management to achieve superior clinical outcomes.

UCLA has been a leader in caring for cardiomyopathy patients since the center opened in 1984. UCLA faculty conduct innovative research, furthering the understanding of the disease process and bringing the latest advances in treatment to their patients. Past breakthroughs at UCLA have influenced treatment standards of care worldwide, and research being conducted today will enhance the health of cardiomyopathy and heart failure patients tomorrow.

Patient Evaluation

Each patient at the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center undergoes comprehensive evaluation that allows our team of cardiac experts to devise a treatment program that is personalized for his or her needs. All patients are screened for potentially reversible causes of heart failure, including vascular and electrophysiological abnormalities. Evidence-based therapies are precisely adjusted to target the cardiomyopathy, related risks and comorbid conditions.

For those patients with coronary artery disease and severe ischemic cardiomyopathy, positron emission tomography (PET) can identify areas of viable myocardium amenable to revascularization. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing and gas exchange analysis can help determine a patient’s risk for subsequent cardiac events and are very useful for individualizing exercise prescriptions.

Medical Treatment

While many cardiomyopathy patients can achieve excellent outcomes with medications, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center physicians have learned that maintaining the benefits of medical therapy requires extensive follow-up and close collaboration with referring doctors. UCLA physicians revolutionized the medical care of heart failure patients when they rigorously applied evidence-based treatment protocols that use secondary prevention treatments to reduce the risks and consequences of heart disease. The UCLA protocols, which served as the basis of the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program, helps improve patients’ quality of life and reduces recurring cardiac events and hospital readmissions.

Cardiac Electrophysiology

Patients with cardiac arrhythmias can be treated with medications to alleviate symptoms, prevent other cardiac episodes and slow the progression of heart disease. UCLA patients can also benefit from the consultative and treatment resources of the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center. Implanted devices — pacemakers and defibrillators — can maintain or restore normal heart rhythm in patients whose hearts beat too slowly, too rapidly or irregularly. Cardiac resynchronization therapy uses a specialized pacemaker to control contractions in both ventricles and the right atrium in patients whose heart chamber contractions are out of phase with one another.

Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to selectively destroy heart tissue in a way that prevents disordered electrical signals from propagating in the heart and causing arrhythmia. Electroanatomic mapping is used to enhance the accuracy of these procedures, and robotic tools can provide better visualization and more flexible instrument movement during these minimally invasive procedures.

Cardiac Surgery

Ventricular assist devices (VADs) can prolong the lives of patients with end-stage heart disease in two ways. They can serve as a bridge to transplantation, keeping patients alive while they await a donor organ. They can also serve as a destination therapy, providing long-term circulatory assistance to patients who are not candidates for transplantation. UCLA has played an active role in testing many of the newest devices before they are approved for general use, making our surgical teams, cardiomyopathy specialists, nurses and VAD coordinators among the most experienced and knowledgeable anywhere. UCLA is also a pioneer in the field of heart transplantation. Since performing its first heart transplant in 1984, UCLA cardiothoracic surgeons have performed more than 1,800 transplants, with survival rates that exceed international standards. UCLA specialists have contributed important advances in the field, including some that have helped to make heart transplantation available to more patients by finding ways to use donor organs that would otherwise be rejected as unsuitable for use in transplants.


Participating Physicians

Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D.
Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center

W. Robb MacLellan, M.D.
Professor of Medicine/Cardiology

Abbas Ardehali, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Director, UCLA Heart, Lung & Heart-Lung Transplant Programs

Mario C. Deng, M.D.
Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Heart Transplant Program

Richard J. Shemin, M.D.
Chief, UCLA Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Murray H. Kwon, M.D., M.B.A.
Co-Surgical Director, Mechanical Assist Device Program

Hillel Laks, M.D.
Chancellor’s Professor of Surgery

Ann Hickey, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine/Cardiology

Arnold S. Baas, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine/Cardiology

Tamara B. Horwich, M.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Medicine/Cardiology

Daniel Cruz, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cardiomyopathy/Transplant

Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center

200 UCLA Medical Plaza (Peter Morton Medical Bldg.), Suite
224 Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone: (310) 825-8816 / Fax: (310) 206-9111
Email: chf@mednet.ucla.edu

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