Jewish Hospital LVAD Recovery Program
The Center for Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiothoracic Transplantation at Jewish Hospital is leading the country in the removal of left ventricle assist devices (LVAD) from patients using a recovery protocol.
Using a specific combination of medications – which includes ACE inhibitors, spironolactone, beta blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers and digoxin – in combination with the LVAD, the elements work together to strengthen the patients’ heart.
Patients are closely monitored and once the heart function improves to normal levels, the LVAD is removed. Medication therapy remains ongoing, but patients are able return to work and other daily activities.
To learn more about the Jewish Hospital LVAD Recovery Program, call 502-587-4939.
How You Can Help
The LVAD Recovery Program continues to research and monitor patients to help further this innovative new treatment protocol. Health insurance providers do not cover some tests and procedures required for a patient to participate in the program.
Your donation will help fund tests for patients and support research efforts to track and monitor patient outcomes. Your gift will help the Jewish Hospital LVAD Recovery Program care for more individuals in our region and conduct research to improve the recovery protocol.
Make a secure on line donation through the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Foundation and choose the "LVAD Recovery Program" radio button.
Meet Patients We Have Helped
Phillip Groves, 23, was a young Marine preparing for a deployment to Iraq. During training, he began experiencing strange symptoms. Simple tasks, such as sitting up in bed in the morning, left him feeling winded. After medical evaluation, he was diagnosed with stage 4 heart failure. He was 20 years old.
Groves was referred to the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Jewish Hospital. He began treatment there in January 2009 and underwent open-heart surgery to have a LVAD implanted to help his heart function.
Later that year, physicians discussed with Groves the possibility of improving his condition and removing his LVAD. Groves was immediately on board. He was treated with the recovery protocol and in July 2011, his heart was strong enough to remove the LVAD.
“When they said I could have the LVAD out, it was pretty exciting,” said Groves. “I’d had the LVAD for two years. Once it was out, it was nice to take a normal shower again…and to be able to sleep any way that I wanted.”
“If there is someone out there with an LVAD who may be a candidate for this program, I would encourage them to listen to the doctors. It’s definitely worth it if it’s an option,” he said.
Joseph Greenwell, 51, had suffered from cardiomyopathy for 15-16 years when he had a LVAD implanted in May 2010. He had watched two of his brothers receive heart transplants due to the hereditary condition and he was prepared to follow the same path. That is, until he learned about the LVAD recovery program.
“At first I was kind of skeptical of it,” Greenwell said. “I understood when it was put in that it was the alternative to a transplant. When they told me they could take it out, I just wasn’t sure at first.”
Seven months later, in December 2010, after receiving the recovery protocol, Greenwell’s heart function was strong and his LVAD was removed.
“It takes a lot of burden off your shoulders. Packing that thing around with the batteries, etc.,” he said. “I’m glad that I made the decision to do it.”