Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a type of mechanical circulatory support device. It helps the left ventricle (bottom chamber) of the heart pump blood out of the ventricle to the aorta and subsequently, the rest of the body.
An LVAD does not replace the heart. It only receives the blood from the left ventricle and delivers it to the aorta because the left ventricle is unable to do this by itself. It pumps along with the patient’s own heart.
How does it work?
The LVAD is implanted during an open-heart surgery. The pump unit is placed in the chest. It is implanted into the apex of the heart where it receives blood. A tube then delivers this blood from the device to the aorta. The aorta then pumps this blood to the rest of the body.
The pump is attached to a control unit and remote power source that is placed on the outside of the body, often strapped to the chest/abdomen. The control unit runs the pump and provides messages and alarms to help you operate the system. The batteries keep the LVAD running.
Who needs an LVAD?
An LVAD is a treatment option for certain patients with end-stage heart failure. Patients in this condition are evaluated for an LVAD to see if it is the best option for them. It is not an appropriate treatment option for all patients. It is contraindicated in patients with clotting problems, kidney failure, liver disease, lung disease or infections.