Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Implantation- Cardiology
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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.
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.