HeartMate 3 LVAD Therapy

A treatment for those with advanced heart failure

Connect with People who have a HeartMate 3 LVAD

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is not a heart attack. Heart failure — sometimes called a weak heart — is a long-term condition and can get worse over time. It happens when the heart muscle gets so weak it can no longer pump blood well enough to meet the body's needs.1  

If not managed and treated, it can lead to poor quality of life, hospitalizations and death. Heart failure causes more than 377,000 deaths each year in the United States.2

Some Common Causes of Heart Failure Include:3

  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy (weak heart)
  • Congenital heart defects (heart defects present since birth)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart muscle diseases
  • Infection of the heart and/or heart valves
  • Damage to the heart muscle from heart attack

In its early stages, heart failure can often be managed with medicines and a healthy way of life. As heart failure gets worse and the heart becomes weaker, medicine becomes less effective. Other therapies may then be needed.4


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How Do You Know if You Have Heart Failure or Your Heart Failure Is Getting Worse?

There are several important symptoms to watch for:5

Tiredness or fatigue


Constant coughing

Weight gain

Lightheadedness and confusion

Faster heart rate

Trouble breathing

Nausea or lack of appetite

Symptoms like these can limit your activities and way of life without you even realizing it. They may also mean your heart failure is getting worse.

Take our Heart Failure Quiz

It may help you describe to your doctor how heart failure is limiting your life.

What Are the Stages of Heart Failure?

New York Heart Association (NYHA) Classes of Heart Failure

The New York Heart Association created a system to help define the stages of heart failure. Doctors use this four-stage Heart Failure Class System developed by the NYHA to define the seriousness of a person’s heart failure. These heart failure stages are sometimes referred to as the classes of heart failure. As the disease and symptoms get worse, the heart failure class level changes from early-stage heart failure (Class I) to advanced heart failure (Class III or Class IV). The descriptions below, developed by the NYHA, show each stage and how the related symptoms affect quality of life.


Class I

No symptoms or limitations to physical activity.


Class II

Slight limitations to physical activity. Comfortable at rest. Ordinary physical activity results in feeling tired and short of breath.


Class III

Major limitations to physical activity. Less than ordinary activity results in feeling tired and short of breath.


Class IV

Unable to carry on any physical activity without discomfort. Tired and short of breath even at rest.

It is important to understand that heart failure is a serious condition. It is also important to recognize if your symptoms are getting worse. If you have worsening symptoms your doctor may suggest advanced therapies to manage and treat your heart failure.

American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Stages of Heart Failure

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) also have a system for classification of heart failure. This system includes patients who are at a high risk of developing heart failure but have not yet been diagnosed. The ACC/AHA system complements the NYHA system and are often used together by physicians.

ACC/AHA StageSymptoms
AAt high risk for heart failure but without structural heart disease or symptoms of heart failure.
BStructural heart disease but without signs or symptoms of heart failure.
CStructural heart disease with prior or current symptoms of heart failure.
DRefractory heart failure requiring specialized interventions.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Heart Failure

  • What NYHA Class, sometimes referred to as a stage of heart failure, am I currently?
  • How is my heart failure likely to progress (or get worse)?
  • If my heart failure gets worse, what therapies and options are available besides medications?
  • What are the three most important things my family and I can do right now to manage my heart failure?

Additional Information

These materials are not intended to replace your doctor’s advice or information. For any questions or concerns you may have regarding the medical procedures, devices and/or your personal health, please discuss these with your physician.


  1. What is heart failure? American Heart Association website. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/what-is-heartfailure. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. 2019 Mortality [I50.0-I50.9 Heart Failure total mentions page 32 and 94]. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvs s/mortality_public_use_data.h tm
  3. Causes of heart failure. American Heart Association website. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/causes-and-risks-for-heart-failure/causes-of-heart-failure. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  4. AbouEzzeddine OF, Redfield MM. Who has advanced heart failure? Definition and epidemiology. Congest Heart Fail. 2011;17:1-18.
  5. Warning signs of heart failure. American Heart Association website. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/warning-signs-of-heart-failure. Accessed March 1, 2021.
  6. Classes of heart failure. American Heart Association website. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/what-is-heart-failure/classes-of-heart-failure. Accessed March 1, 2021.

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