Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs)
What is a left ventricular assist device (LVAD)?
An LVAD is a mechanical pump-type device surgically implanted in patients whose heart continues to fail. This device simulates the work of the left ventricle--the large, muscular chamber of the heart that pumps blood out of the body--to help maintain the pumping ability of a heart that can't effectively function on its own.
Sometimes an LVAD is referred to as a "bridge to transplant" because it can sustain a patient's weakened heart while waiting for transplantation. Typically, LVADs are used for weeks to months prior to a heart transplant.
How does an LVAD work?
Typically, an LVAD has two tubes connected to an electric pump, an electronic controller and an energy supply. One tube goes into the left ventricle, pulling blood from the ventricle into the pump. The pump then sends blood into the aorta, the large blood vessel leaving the ventricle, effectively "bypassing" the weakened ventricle.
The pump is placed in the upper part of the abdomen. Another tube attached to the pump is brought out of the wall of the abdomen to the outside of the body and attached to the control system for the pump.
What is the HeartMate® II LVAD?
The HeartMate® II is a commonly used device implanted in patients who are either awaiting a donor heart or as destination therapy.
In January 2010, the FDA approved the HeartMate® II as a long-term permanent implant for patients with end-stage heart failure who are not heart transplant candidates - known as destination therapy. CPMC physicians have actually been performing this procedure since 2006, before any other Northern CA hospital, as a participant in clinical trials.
What is a biventricular assist device (BIVAD)?
The right ventricle or pumping chamber of the heart can be simulated through the use of a biventricular assist device (BIVAD). This device works similarly to an LVAD, but connects the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.
Learn more about the Heart Hope Center for Destination Therapy