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Heart Failure

Helping you live life to the fullest.

Elderly patient sitting on a couch holding his chest

Take control of your heart health.

The team at St. Luke’s University Health Care, one of the nation’s leading heart and vascular centers, uses advanced treatments to help you minimize heart failure symptoms, prevent further heart damage and make heart-healthy lifestyle changes so you can enjoy your best life.


Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition that occurs when your heart doesn’t pump enough blood for your body’s needs. St. Luke’s interventional and structural heart cardiologists, electrophysiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons offer the latest treatment options. Working with expertly trained advanced practitioners, nurses and exercise physiologists, our team helps you manage heart failure symptoms, minimize future heart damage and adopt a healthy lifestyle to enjoy life to the fullest. Treatment may include medication and surgically-implanted devices, such as pacemakers and internal defibrillators.

The American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association have recognized St. Luke’s University Health Network for expertise in cardiology.

Conditions we treat

Advanced heart failure

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease. The term ‘heart failure’ means that the heart cannot keep up with its workload. Your body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s cells. With heart failure, the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.

At first, the heart tries to make up for this by enlarging, developing more mass and pumping faster. The body also tries to compensate by narrowing its blood vessels and by diverting blood away from less important tissues and organs. These temporary measures mask the problem of heart failure, but they don’t solve it. Heart failure continues and worsens until these compensating processes no longer work. Eventually, the heart and body just can’t keep up, and the person experiences fatigue, breathing problems or other symptoms that usually prompt a trip to the doctor or hospital.


Amyloidosis is a group of diseases caused by a build up of the protein amyloid in one or more organs, such as the heart. Cardiac amyloidosis, sometimes called stiff heart syndrome, can cause the heart to become thick and stiffened. Over time, it can weaken the heart and lead to congestive heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities and diseases of the heart valves. While there is no cure, our team can help manage its symptoms and limit further amyloid protein production.

Cardiogenic shock

Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition that happens suddenly when your heart can't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your body's needs. A serious heart attack is the most common cause of cardiogenic shock, but heart failure, chest injuries and blood clots in the lungs can also cause it. Cardiogenic shock requires emergency treatment, such as life support and medications, to reduce damage from the lack of oxygen to your heart muscle and other organs and prevent death.


Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects your heart muscle (myocardium), making it harder for your heart to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy has many different types and causes. It affects people of all ages. When you have cardiomyopathy, your heart muscle may become thicker, stiffer or larger than normal, depending on your type of cardiomyopathy, and your heart may develop scar tissue. Cardiomyopathy can weaken your heart over time, causing heart failure. It can also cause an irregular heartbeat or a life-threatening cardiac arrest.

Common symptoms are shortness of breath, tiredness, dizziness and fainting. As the disease worsens, you may experience chest pain. Echocardiography is the most common test to diagnose this condition.

Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive, life-changing disease in which the heart strains to pump blood to the lungs through narrowed or blocked arteries, causing arterial blood pressure to rise abnormally. Pulmonary hypertension usually presents with common symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen ankles, lightheadedness and fainting. As a result, patients are often only correctly diagnosed with it after they have reached an advanced stage of the disease. If not treated early and accurately, over time, this condition can worsen and eventually cause the right side of the heart to work harder, become oversized and weakened, eventually leading one to develop heart failure.

Pulmonary Hypertension Program Office
1469 Eighth Avenue
Bethlehem PA 18018

Videos: Be in the know.

Dive into our video gallery and gain a comprehensive understanding of heart failure. We explain how a healthy heart works and what happens during heart failure. Additionally, we’ll discuss causes, symptoms, and treatment options, empowering you to take charge of your heart health.

Hands holding a heart graphic with heart beat inside of it


Mechanical circulatory support (MCS)

A mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device takes over the function of one of your heart’s ventricles when your heart is not functioning properly. Available at St. Luke’s, MCS’s supplement or replace the action of a failing heart or lungs for patients who need a heart transplant or as permanent therapy for heart failure.

Ventricular assist device (VAD)

Ventricular assist devices (VADs) help pump blood from the heart’s lower chambers to the rest of the body for patients with a weak heart or heart failure. Available at St. Luke’s, VADs are used to help the heart work while waiting for other treatments, such as a heart transplant. Sometimes physicians will implant a VAD to permanently help their patient’s heart pump blood.

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Your recovery starts here.

If you’re experiencing heart concerns, let us help. Connect with a St. Luke’s cardiac specialist and start your path to recovery.