Organ-saving surgical alternatives to treatment of heart failure

Roland Hetzer, Mariano Francisco del Maria Javier, Frank Wagner, Matthias Loebe, Eva Maria Javier Delmo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over time, various surgical treatment strategies have evolved to manage advanced heart failure (HF). Scientific and technological breakthroughs through the last 50 years have put forward various surgical alternatives to patients with advanced HF encompassing surgical ventricular restoration to surgical gene therapy and stem cell replacement of the diseased ventricles. Organ-saving surgical options which used to be promising included dynamic cardiomyoplasty, partial resection of ventricle and cardiac wrapping with Acorn CorCap cardiac support device. These procedures were eventually abandoned due to negative outcomes and without proven disadvantages. Another organ-saving surgical option currently being considered but still make little sense is cardiac regeneration by stem cell therapy, i.e., cardiomyocyte restoration and replacement. Presently, the organ-saving surgical alternatives to treat end-stage HF are revascularization for ischemic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve surgery (repair or replacement) for ischemic mitral incompetence (IMI), left ventricular (LV) aneurysmectomy (surgical ventricular restoration) and mitral valve repair for IMI. These aforementioned procedures have become quite established approaches and with increasing experience are continuously being modified to improve outcome. Various mechanical circulatory support systems have emerged over time to improve functional status of patients with advanced HF, either as a bridge to heart transplantation or as a bridge to myocardial recovery. Likewise offered in those with contraindications to transplantation. Ventricular assist devices (VAD) can keep patients alive until an eventual transplantation. This article reviews the variety of the myriad of alternative organ-saving surgical alternatives that have been available or are currently available provided to patients with end-stage HF, their advantages and deficiencies, as well as prospects in HF therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Aneurysmectomy
  • Cardiomyoplasty
  • Coronary revascularization
  • Heart failure (HF)
  • Heart transplantation
  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
  • Ischemic mitral incompetence (IMI)
  • Partial left ventriculectomy
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Ventricular assist devices (VAD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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