Heart failure sounds scary, right?\nIt can be, but heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped and there’s nothing you can do.\nHeart failure happens when your heart doesn’t work as well as it should. It can be treated, and some treatments, like lifestyle changes and medicines, work for many people. But others with more severe heart failure might need a heart transplant or ventricular assist device (VAD).\nHow Do You Treat Heart Failure?\nHeart failure can be mild, moderate, or severe. The goals of treatment for all kinds of heart failure usually include:\n\nKeeping your heart failure from getting worse\nManaging your symptoms\nTreating what is causing your heart failure, like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other medical problems\nMaking your quality of life better\n\nHeart failure can be treated with:\n\nChanges to your lifestyle, like quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating a heart-healthy diet\nMedicines that help your heart work better\nDevices like pacemakers or defibrillators, which are placed inside your body and help control your heart rate\nSurgery to fix heart valves or vessels that may not work the right way\n\nIf these treatments do not work or your heart failure becomes severe, you may need:\n\nA heart transplant, where you get a new heart\nA VAD, either before or instead of a transplant\n\nRELATED:\u00a0Infographic: What You Need to Know About Heart Failure\nWhat Is a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)?\nAlso called an artificial heart, a VAD is a small mechanical device that gets placed into your chest or is worn outside of your body. It works by pulling blood out of your heart and pumping it out into your body, giving it the nutrients it needs.\nThere are different kinds of VADs. They are used for different reasons, including as:\n\nA bridge to transplant. It can take a long time to get a new heart, and your doctor might recommend a VAD while you wait. After your transplant, your doctor removes the VAD.\nA bridge to recovery. In some cases, like after a heart attack, cardiac surgery, or other cardiac event, your heart can heal itself with the help of a VAD. Once your heart is strong enough, the VAD is taken out.\nDestination therapy. Not everyone is able to have a heart transplant, usually because of age or another medical condition. A VAD can be their “destination therapy” – meaning that instead of having a heart transplant, they will live with a VAD for the rest of their life.\n\nWho Is a Candidate for an Artificial Heart?\nArtificial hearts are used in very special situations, for people who:\n\nHave symptoms that do not respond well to medical therapy and are continually unable to walk one block, or feel breathless walking from room to room\nHave had more than one hospital admission for heart failure in the last six months\nAre not able to take certain medicines, like ACE\/ARB drugs or beta-blockers\nHave lab results show consistently low or consistently high levels of certain substances\n\nOther factors also influence whether or not you are a candidate, and it is always best to talk to your doctor about what is right for you.\nVisit the UPMC Advanced Heart Failure Center online or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (1-855-876-2484) for more information.