Left Ventricle Assist Device
A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump. When one of the heart’s natural pumps (a ventricle) does not perform well, an LVAD is used to increase the amount of blood that flows through the body. Having an LVAD implant allows most people with advanced heart failure to return to a fuller life.
An LVAD consists of:
- A pump that is attached to a ventricle inside the body.
- An external controller, which is a small computer that monitors the pump.
- A driveline cable, which connects the pump to the controller.
- Power sources that run the pump and controller.
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How does it work?
The LVAD Pump is surgically implanted in the chest, in a sac around the heart known as the pericardial space. The small size of the pump allows it to be implanted using a smaller incision than required with older VAD technologies. The pump is connected directly to your heart at the bottom of the left ventricle, where it draws oxygen-rich blood through the pump and pushes it into your aorta. Once blood reaches the aorta, it can flow to the rest of the body.
Despite the device's compact size, it will pump enough blood every minute to decrease heart failure symptoms. Your doctor will program the LVAD Pump so it delivers the right amount of flow for your body’s needs.
When a 22-year-old needed a heart transplant, an implantable heart pump kept him alive until his second chance came through.