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:

  • Bleeding
    • Gut
    • Brain
  • Clot
  • Stroke
  • Infection
  • Right heart dysfunction
    • Damage to blood cells due to the pump
    • Hemolysis

    source: Stanford Health Care