Heart failure: Improving your heart function and quality of life

We offer top-notch care for heart failure at University of Wisconsin Hospitals, part of UW Health. We are the No. 1 hospital in Wisconsin and also singled out as "high performing" in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S News & World Report.
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Overview

Excellent care for heart failure

We offer the expertise and tools to help improve your heart function.

If your heart doesn’t pump enough blood to support your body, you can develop heart failure. A previous heart attack, or health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure can cause heart failure.

Heart failure can also be caused by: 

We offer the latest medical, surgical and device treatments for heart failure. We will explore every treatment option to help improve your heart function and your quality of life.

Expert care near you

At UW Health, you have access to leading programs and top-rated facilities.

Heart failure can wear you down, making it hard to travel. For convenient checkups and follow-up care, we offer heart failure outreach clinics at four locations in Wisconsin and one in Illinois.

Our heart failure team offers advanced treatments at University Hospital in Madison, one of the nation’s top-ranked heart hospitals.

We offer the state’s most active heart transplant program. Our transplant wait times are among the shortest in the country. Also, we are the only program in Wisconsin to offer minimally invasive ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Recognizing heart failure

If you have heart failure, your heart doesn’t pump blood properly. This causes fluid to build up throughout your body. Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Swelling 

  • Weakness and tiredness

You may also notice weight gain and a cough that is worse when you’re lying down. This cough is caused by fluid buildup in your lungs. 

We have advanced testing methods like invasive hemodynamics  to assess why patients are experiencing shortness of breath with exertion. 

We’ll work with you to manage your heart failure symptoms at every stage. We provide expert care from diagnosis through follow-up. We’ll also give you the tools you need to make necessary lifestyle changes.

Second opinions

Our team welcomes patients seeking a second opinion on their heart failure diagnosis and treatment options.

Get a second opinion to learn more about your options

Request a second opinion

Treatments and research

Access to all treatment options

There are many treatments for heart failure. At UW Health, you have access to them all.

Our team will work with you to determine the cause of your heart failure. Then we will work together to develop the best treatment plan.

Heart failure treatments range from medications and lifestyle changes to implanted devices that help your heart pump. For severe heart failure, doctors may recommend an assist device or  heart transplant.

Specialized treatments at UW Health include:

If you have severe heart failure, your doctor may recommend a heart transplant. During a heart transplant, surgeons remove your heart and replace it with a donor heart. Learn more about heart transplant. [Link to heart transplant page] Our program also provides patients with options for dual organ transplants such as heart-kidney, heart-liver or heart-lung transplants.

Learn more

VADs are machines that help the heart pump blood. Most often, a VAD is implanted to keep your heart working as you await a heart transplant. VADs are also offered to patients who don’t qualify for a heart transplant. UW Health is the only program in Wisconsin implanting VADs without opening the entire chest. This minimally invasive approach shortens recovery. 

Learn more

Your heart’s valves move blood into and out of your heart. When a heart valve is damaged or diseased, it doesn’t open or close properly. This is called a valve disorder. Valve disorders can lead to heart failure. The most common heart valve disorder is mitral regurgitation. Our team offers mitral valve repair and replacement, including the minimally invasive MitraClip procedure. Interventional cardiologists use a catheter tube to guide a small clip to your mitral valve. The clip helps your mitral valve to close.

Learn more

These are rare diseases caused by an abnormal type of protein that deposits in the heart. We offer a comprehensive treatment program ranging from medical therapy to heart transplant.

We care for all patients with Advanced Pulmonary Hypertension whether their condition is related to or unrelated to heart disease.

Advanced imaging such as cardiac MRIs and PET scans help monitor treatment which may range from  medical therapy to heart transplantation.

Your heart’s electrical system keeps your heart beating at the right pace. When the electrical system stops working, your heart begins to beat irregularly. An irregular heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. Untreated arrhythmias can lead to heart failure. At UW Health, we offer cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) to treat heart arrhythmias. CRT can prevent or reduce symptoms of heart failure. During CRT, surgeons implant a pacemaker under your skin. Wires connect the pacemaker to your heart. The wires deliver electrical signals to reset your heart’s rhythm as needed.

Patients can be monitored with implantation of a PA sensor device called “CardioMEMS” to monitor pressures and avoid hospitalizations related to overt heart failure. 

Palliative care to relieve patients' symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Advancing heart care through research 

If your heart failure is too advanced for traditional therapies, you may qualify for a clinical trial testing a new treatment. 

Our team is currently studying the use of stem cells to treat advanced heart failure.

Find a clinical trial

Meet our team

Heart care experts

If your heart is failing, you want the best team by your side. At UW Health, we have a vast team of specialists committed to your care.

Our experts include heart failure and transplant cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, transplant surgeons, palliative care physicians, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, exercise physiologists and integrative health specialists.

Our providers

Innovative treatments

At UW Health, we provide a full range of services for conditions affecting your heart and circulatory system. Here, you’ll find expert preventive care, advanced diagnostic tests and innovative treatments.

Contact us

Location

Expert care near you

At UW Health, you have access to leading programs and top-rated facilities.

Heart failure can wear you down, making it hard to travel. For convenient checkups and follow-up care, we offer heart failure outreach clinics at four locations in Wisconsin and one in Illinois.


We offer the state’s most active heart transplant program. Our transplant wait times are among the shortest in the country. Also, we are the only program in Wisconsin to offer minimally invasive ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation.

  • Arbor Gate Heart Clinic - Heart Failure Program
    • 2601 W Beltine Hwy., Suite 200 / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-1690
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • Research Park Clinic - Heart Failure Program
    • 621 Science Dr. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-1690
    • Closed now
    •  
      View hours, services and more
  • University Hospital - Heart Failure Program
    • 600 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-1690
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • UW Health at The American Center - Heart Failure Program
    • 4602 Eastpark Blvd. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-1690
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • Aspirus Cardiology - Heart Failure Program
    • 500 Wind Ridge Dr. / Wausau, WI
    • (800) 441-4013
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • Bellin Health - Heart Failure Program
    • 704 S. Webster Avenue, Suite 100 / Green Bay, WI
    • (920) 433-3737
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • Marshfield Clinic Stevens Point Center - Heart Failure Program
    • 4100 State Highway 66 / Stevens Point, WI
    • (715) 387-5301
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • Prevea Clinic - Green Bay - Heart Failure
    • 1821 S. Webster Ave. / Green Bay, WI
    • (920) 431-1850
    • Closed now
    •  
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  • SwedishAmerican Heart Institute - Heart Failure Program
    • 1340 Charles Street, Suite 300 / Rockford, IL
    • (779) 696-8800
    • Closed now
    •  
      View hours, services and more

Patient and support services

Resources for you

If you have heart failure, you may have questions or need support. At UW Health, we offer resources to help you on your path to better health. 

Online heart failure information