HCA Virginia and the VCU Pauley Heart Center Partner to Offer Continuum of Care to Heart Failure Patients

The HCA Virginia team at the Levinson Heart Hospital at Chippenham has begun implanting Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) in patients with advanced heart failure, and qualified candidates will be sent to the Virginia Commonwealth University Pauley Heart Center for heart transplant in a partnership announced today by the two leaders in advanced cardiac care.

HCA Virginia’s Heart Network and the VCU Pauley Heart Center both offer comprehensive heart failure and heart surgery programs. Levinson Heart Hospital at Chippenham is one of just 56 community hospitals with a dedicated VAD center in the United States. It also is the only dedicated heart hospital in Richmond.

The VCU Medical Center has been implanting VADS for more than a decade. The VCU Medical Center launched its heart transplant program in 1968, and in 2006, its physicians performed the first total artificial heart transplant on the East Coast. It now is the most active total artificial heart center in the United States.

“This partnership marries two of the strongest heart programs in the state to offer the community unparalleled access to the latest innovations in cardiovascular care,” said Tim McManus, CEO of HCA Virginia’s Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals.

“The Pauley Heart Center is a pioneer in mechanical assist devices and other interventions for cardiac care, including end-stage heart failure, and we’re pleased to join forces with HCA to share the resources of our physician researchers,” said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals.

A ventricular assist device (VAD) pumps blood from the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle, to the rest of the body. In January 2010, the FDA approved the VAD for destination therapy– a permanent solution for patients who don’t want or aren’t candidates for heart transplant. The HCA Virginia VAD team will provide both destination therapy and bridge therapy for those patients who may ultimately receive a transplant or total artificial heart at the VCU Medical Center.

The HCA Virginia and VCU teams will work collaboratively to assess patients and determine the best treatment option for each. 

“The number of people with advanced heart failure in need of help is much larger than the number of hearts available and the number of transplants on an annual basis is really not changing,” said Phillip Duncan, M.D., lead cardiologist for HCA’s VAD Program.

“Over the past few years HCA Virginia has created a dedicated heart failure team to specialize in helping these patients achieve the best quality of life and outcomes possible,” Duncan said. “With the introduction of the VAD destination therapy and the partnership with VCU for transplant, we are creating options that will help many people live much longer, healthier lives.”

“The VCU heart failure and transplant team is pleased to partner with the HCA Virginia VAD Team to offer comprehensive care to patients in this region,” said Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., chair of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the Pauley Heart Center’s heart transplantation program.

About the VCU Pauley Heart Center

The VCU Pauley Heart Center is recognized nationally for conducting cutting edge basic, translational and clinical research in cardiac imaging, interventions, electrophysiology, heart transplantation, ischemia/reperfusion, heart failure and development of novel strategies for myocardial protection.  The Pauley Heart Center was among the first in the United States to implant the CardioWest temporary Total Artificial Heart, or TAH-t – the only total artificial heart approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The heart center is comprised of the Divisions of Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pediatric Cardiology. There is close collaboration between the divisions to provide advanced, patient-centered care to patients of all ages, with every type of heart disease, with the best possible outcomes. Pauley Heart Center’s superior performance resulted in VCU Medical Center being recognized as one of the top 100 U.S. hospitals for cardiovascular care, according to a Thomson Reuters study.

About HCA Virginia

As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive patient care network, HCA Virginia operates 13 hospitals and more than a dozen outpatient centers and is affiliated with 3,000 physicians in Central, Southwestern and Northern Virginia. In addition to being one of Virginia’s largest employers, it provides approximately $100 million in charity care to uninsured patients each year and pays $100 million in taxes. In Central Virginia, HCA Virginia includes 1 freestanding ER, 4 imaging centers, 5 outpatient surgery centers, more than 50 physician practice locations and the 7 hospitals we are best known for – Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, John Randolph, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, Retreat Doctors’ and Spotsylvania Regional. For more, see