A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical pump that is surgically implanted into the chest when heart function is severely impaired. It does not replace the heart, but assists the failing ventricle to circulate adequate blood flow around the body. VADs are powered by an electricity source from outside the body.
The majority of VADs are implanted in the left ventricle (LVAD), which is the main pumping chamber of the heart, although occasionally patients may require support for both the left and right sides of the heart. A VAD is usually implanted either as a ‘bridge to transplantation’, to keep patients as stable and physically active as possible while they await a donor heart, or as ‘destination therapy’ for patients who are not eligible for a heart transplant. The choice of VAD depends upon whether it is implanted as a bridge to transplantation or destination therapy, as well as several anatomical considerations.
Types of Ventricular Assist Device
Abbott HeartMate 3: Left Ventricular Assist Device
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HeartWare Ventricular Assist System
The HeartWare Ventricular Assist System is a small centrifugal pump used for mechanical circulatory support in patients with advanced congestive heart failure.
Caring for your VAD