Types of VADs
The HeartWare, or HVAD pump, is a miniaturized, centrifugal pump capable of delivering up to 10 liters-minute of blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Like all other VADs, the HeartWare VAS has a small driveline exiting the abdomen that delivers power to the pump via a controller and two batteries. The impeller inside the pump is suspended using a combination of passive magnets and hydrodynamic thrust bearings offering essentially a “wear-less” system. The HeartWare VAS is in clinical trials for both bridge to transplantation and destination therapy.
The Future is Here: Ventricular Assist Devices for the Failing Heart
A left ventricular assist device (VAD — also called ventricular assist system or VAS) is a type of mechanical circulatory support device (MCSD). It is a mechanical pump that is implanted in patients who have heart failure to help the heart’s weakened left ventricle (major pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood throughout the body.
The device consists of a pump placed into the chest and connects to the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta. It has a wire (driveline) that comes out through the skin of the abdomen below the ribcage. The driveline connects to a small computer that controls the device. Two batteries that last between 10 to 12 hours between charges power this device. The pump is silent and produces continuous blood flow. In most cases, patients with this pump will not have a palpable pulse.
How Does an LVAD Work?
A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is implanted under your skin. It helps pump blood from the left ventricle of your heart and on to the rest of your body. A control unit and battery pack are worn outside your body and are connected to the LVAD through a port in your skin.
Our understanding of LVAD DLI epidemiology and evolution has improved in recent years. Additionally, initial strides have been taken to optimize LVAD implantation techniques and adjust driveline exit site maintenance as methods for DLI prevention. However, further studies are urgently needed to define evidence-based treatment of these infections including choice of biofilm-active antibiotic regimens, necessity of device exchange, and utility of suppressive antibiotics.
Devices and Surgical Procedures to Treat Heart Failure
Surgeons replace the damaged heart with a healthy one from a donor who has been declared brain dead. It can take several months to find a donor heart that closely matches the tissues of the person receiving the transplant. But this matching process increases the likelihood that the recipient’s body will accept the heart.
Ventricular Assist Devices
The lower chambers of the heart are called the ventricles. The lower-left chamber is called the left ventricle, and it is the heart’s main pumping chamber. The lower-right chamber is called the right ventricle. When either of the ventricles is overworked, it can lead to heart failure.
FAQ: Living with a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)
Physical activity is always good, not just for your heart, but for the rest of your body. You will have to start slow because you have been in the hospital for some time and your muscles are probably out of shape. Initially after getting home, you will still feel quite tired; this is normal after such a big surgery. Generally, your only activity restrictions will be swimming or contact sports. Your physician can discuss exercise goals and guidelines with you.