AIMS for Heart Failure Management

Advanced Integrated Medical and Surgical (AIMS) for Heart Failure Management Program Components

  • Identify and treat reversible causes of heart failure.
  • Optimize conventional medical therapy.
  • New and investigational drugs that have promise for heart failure treatment.
  • To assess patients for mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplantation.
  • To establish safe and effective rehabilitation and education in cooperation with the patients physician and hometown hospital.

Heart Failure

Today, over 5.1 million Americans have heart failure and over 650,000 new patients are diagnosed each year. It remains the most expensive hospital charge – in 2012, heart failure costs in the United States exceeded $40 billion, including the costs of healthcare services, medications and lost productivity. Nationally, heart failure clinics have been effective in reducing hospitalizations of patients and improving their quality of life.

To help those suffering from this debilitating disease, the Heart Failure Program, formally the Lincoln Heart Improvement Program, was developed in 1993 by Nebraska Heart Institute. The unique aspect of this program is the collaborative effort between the primary care physician and the Heart Failure Program. Patients benefit from a multidisciplinary, comprehensive service that includes cardiac evaluation and treatment.

Drug & Device Therapy

Several new experimental and very promising drugs and medical devices are available and may be used by patients in the program. Patients have had remarkable response with significant increase in the ejection fraction and cardiac output and decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and symptoms of congestion. Additionally, quality of life has been improved through the success of some drug therapies and devices.

Ventricular Assist Devices

A Ventricular Assist Device or VAD is part of the surgical treatment for heart failure. It is a special pump that helps your heart pump blood to the rest of your body. The VAD,
which is put in your body during surgery, is connected to a “control unit” that runs the pump. The control unit is outside your body as is connected to the pump by the “driveline” The control unit can be worn on a belt around your waist. It also has a separate power unit it can be hooked up to.

The VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) Team at the Nebraska Heart Institute consists of doctors, nurses, clinical practitioners, administrators, and a variety of support staff all committed to the mission of the Nebraska Heart Institute and the VAD Program. The VAD team is committed to:

  • Providing quality, evidence based care of heart disease.
  • Providing a full range of advanced cardiac life support for people with acute and end-stage heart failure.
  • Making use of mechanical circulatory support devices like VADs for destination therapy.
  • Educating local communities about heart failure and advanced treatments.

Cardiac Transplantation

Patients may require the services of the Nebraska Heart and Lung Transplant Program. This program has had much success since its beginning in 1986. Hospital length of stay, costs, and return-to-work rates are among the best in the country. In addition, survival is well above the national average.


Cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurses, and other professional staff associated with the Heart Failure Program have provided cardiac diagnostic and treatment services to patients throughout the region. Many have pioneered services and procedures to help treat and prevent heart disease. All cardiologists are certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and its subspecialty Board of Cardiovascular Disease, and all surgeons are certified by the American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

Medical Director

Surgical Director

Sagar Damle, MD

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery