Heart and Liver Disease
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Why choose UCLA Health's Heart and Liver Disease Program?
The UCLA Combined Heart and Liver Disease Program (UC-HeLP) is a multidisciplinary effort to treat patients who have both heart and liver disease.
The effects of heart disease on other organs can be profound. Doctors are increasingly understanding that certain types of heart disease can severely affect the liver. This awareness has spurred our experts to better understand, diagnose and manage combined cardiac and liver disease.
Additional highlights of UC-HeLP include:
Multidisciplinary care: Multiple specialists work together on each patient’s care plan. We meet to review each surgical or transplant case and discuss preoperative challenges, care coordination in the operating room and postoperative treatment. This collaboration means we create a personalized treatment plan based on each patient’s needs.
Streamlined transplant evaluations: When patients need a heart transplant, liver transplant or both, we have a streamlined evaluation process. We aim to reduce as many logistical burdens as we can to create a seamless care journey for patients and their families.
Emphasis on research: Our doctors conduct research to ensure that we are constantly advancing the field of heart and liver disease management. We have developed best practices in caring for both progressive cardiac and liver disease as well as liver cancer.
Specialized training: Our specialists train their colleagues, fellows, nurses and other care providers to improve their understanding of combined heart and liver disease. We also lead an annual educational symposium focused on heart and liver disease and transplantation.
Through the Ahmanson/UCLA Health Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, we have a dedicated survivorship program for patients who have undergone a type of open-heart surgery, called a Fontan operation.
Almost all patients who have had a Fontan procedure experience liver congestion and fibrosis that may lead to liver failure. Through the program, specialists from multiple disciplines work together to help patients with the highest risk of combined heart and liver disease.
Patients who choose us benefit from a coordinated, team approach to care. The UC-HeLP care team includes specialists in:
- Critical care
- Heart disease (cardiology)
- Heart transplant surgery
- Infectious diseases
- Kidney disease (nephrology)
- Liver disease (hepatology)
- Liver transplant surgery
Conditions we treat
Our experts care for patients who have heart conditions that affect the liver. Many of our patients are diagnosed with:
- Chronic right heart failure: When the right side of the heart does not pump blood to the lungs as efficiently as it should.
- Congenital heart disease: Problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth.
- Single ventricle defects: When one of the two lower heart chambers (ventricles) is not developed enough or strong enough to work correctly.
- Liver disease: Any loss of or interruption to liver function.
- Liver fibrosis: Scarring in the liver that leads to loss of liver function.
- Liver failure: When liver damage is beyond repair and the liver can no longer function.
Treatments we offer
We coordinate with multiple specialists to ensure that each patient receives personalized care. Patients with both heart and liver disease may require an organ transplant, including:
- Heart transplant: Surgery to replace the heart with a donor one.
- Liver transplant: Surgery to replace a failing liver with a donor one.
- Heart-liver transplant: Surgery to replace both organs in one operation.
Our expert team
The UC-HeLP team includes multiple collaborating specialists. They provide expert patient care, conduct research and train other specialists in heart and liver disease management.