Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Implantation- Cardiology

Doctors: Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon

What is left ventricular assist device (LVAD)?

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a pump that is implanted in patients with the end-stage heart failure. It is a battery-operated mechanical pump, which helps the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

How is LVAD used?

LVADs can be used as either bridge-to-transplant therapy or destination therapy.

  • Bridge-to-transplant therapy: In this type of therapy, patients who are waiting for a heart transplant use the LVAD until a heart becomes available. In some cases, the LVAD is able to restore the failing heart, and hence eliminating the necessity for a transplant.
  • Destination therapy: If a patient is not a candidate for heart transplant, he/she can receive long-term treatment using an LVAD. This would help to prolong and improve the patient’s life.

The procedure:

An open-heart surgery is required to implant the LVAD. Before the surgery the patient is given anesthesia. During the surgery, an incision down the chest is made to pen the chest bone (sternum) to reach the heart and attach the LVAD. Patient is placed on a heart and lung bypass machine while the LVAD is implanted into the heart. Once the implantation is done, patient is removed from the heart and lung bypass machine and the incision is closed.

What to expect after the surgery?

Right after the surgery, patient is shifted to intensive care unit for monitoring. Patient’s heartrate, blood pressure and other parameters are monitored closely for several days in the hospital. Depending on the patient’s condition, doctor may allow the patient to go home. Patient is recommended to avoid any heavy activities and to do regular follow-ups.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.