A left ventricular assist device is a pump for patients who have reached end-stage heart failure. The LVAD is surgically implanted, a battery-operated, mechanical pump helping the left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood to the rest of the body.
LVADs can be used as:
- Bridge-to-transplant therapy: This is a life-saving therapy for patients awaiting a heart transplant. Patients use the LVAD until a heart becomes available. In some cases, the LVAD is able to restore the failing heart, eliminating the need for a transplant.
- Destination therapy: Some patients are not candidates for heart transplants. In this case, patients can receive long-term treatment using an LVAD, which can prolong and improve patients’ lives.
Benefits: A better quality of life (less fatigue, more strength, and better breathing) and longer survival.
Complications: Bleeding, stroke, infection, and death.
Sometimes patients experience complications related to LVAD therapy:
- Right heart dysfunction
- Damage to blood cells due to the pump
source: Stanford Health Care