Tendick Center for the Surgical Treatment of Heart Failure

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

The Tendick Center for the Surgical Treatment of Heart Failure provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and surgical treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure.

Our goal is to help patients by delivering quality, comprehensive care for those who need mechanical circulatory support devices. These devices essentially take over the workload of the heart.

Ventricular assist devices (VADs) and total artificial hearts (TAHs) are types of mechanical circulatory support devices. They can be situated outside the body (extracorporeal) or implanted.

Mechanical circulatory support devices are used in several ways:

  • As life support during or after surgery as your heart recovers
  • As a bridge (temporary solution) as you wait for a heart transplant
  • As destination therapy (a long-term solution) to assist with your heart function

We care for adolescent, adult and geriatric patients. In working with them, we are guided by the following objectives:

  • To inform our patients and their families of the risks and benefits associated with mechanical circulatory support devices
  • To measure and improve our program’s outcomes using the Quality Improvement Process
  • To meet Joint Commission requirements for Disease Specific Care Certification for Ventricular Assist Device Destination Therapy

Why Choose Aurora for Heart Failure Treatment?

Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center has been treating heart failure by implanting mechanical circulatory support devices since 1986. Only three other Wisconsin hospitals implant these devices. So far, we have implanted more than 540 of them, making Aurora the most experienced Medical Center in Wisconsin for implanting mechanical circulatory support devices.          

With our expertise, we have significantly decreased our patients’ average hospital stay to 12 days. Our studies show that, on average, a patient’s quality of life improves significantly after a VAD implant.

Multidisciplinary Team Ensures Total Care 

Patients at the Tendick Center benefit from our multi-disciplinary team, which include:

  • Cardiologists
  • Surgeons
  • Pulmonologists
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Nephrologists
  • Psychologists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Transplant coordinators
  • Heart failure coordinators
  • Clinical engineers
  • Social workers
  • Dieticians
  • Chaplains
  • Therapists (physicial, occupational and cardiac rehab)

We use a case management model to manage patients within the Tendick Center. RN coordinators, including the transplant coordinators and heart failure coordinators, follow our patients throughout the various classes of heart failure to ensure they receive coordinated care at all times, including during the following:

  • Referral and evaluation
  • Pre-transplant waiting period
  • Post-transplant care
  • Destination therapy evaluation
  • Surgical treatment

Care is coordinated in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, outpatient settings throughout the hospital, various in-patient nursing departments or directly with patients in their homes, using the telephone. The team meets at least once a week to review patients.

Tendick Center cardiologists include:

T. Edward Hastings, DO
Nasir Sulemanjee, MD
Dianne Zwicke, MD

Tendick Center cardiovascular surgeons include:

John Crouch, MD
Francis Downey, MD
Daniel O'Hair, MD
Vinay Thohan, MD

Technology and Clinical Studies

The specific types of ventricular assist devices we use include: 

  • DuraHeart™
  • Heartmate II®
  • Heartware®
  • Levitronix®
  • Thoratec®

The total artificial heart device we use is the SynCardia Cardiowest™.

Location and Contact Information

To learn more, please contact:

Tendick Center for the Surgical Treatment of Heart Failure
Kathy Princer, Supervisor
2900 W. Oklahoma Avenue
Milwaukee WI 53215