Left Ventricular Assist Device
We are one of only a few hospitals nationwide approved to offer the LVAD device as part of a destination therapy program.
What is the LVAD?
The LVAD is an implantable mechanical device that circulates blood throughout the body when the heart is too weak to do it on its own. Restoring blood flow helps the patient breathe easier and feel less fatigued. The device takes blood from a lower chamber of the heart and helps pump it to the body and vital organs, just as a healthy heart would.
The heart pump is inserted into the heart with a lead that attaches outside the body to a system controller, which continually checks the LVAD's performance. The system controller attaches to a power source which must always remain connected.
Implanting an LVAD device changes a patient's heart so much that it becomes dependent upon on the LVAD to work. Therefore, patients considering an LVAD must have exhausted all other congestive heart failure treatment options.
Who is a candidate for a LVAD?
Patients may be considered LVAD candidates if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Diagnosed with class IV heart failure
- Has exhausted all other treatment options and needs long-term mechanical support for their heart
- Unable to walk one block without shortness of breath.
- Has been recently admitted to the hospital for condition related to congestive heart-failure
- Is not suffering from right-sided heart failure
- Performs as expected on tests on heart failure and overall health
Each patient considered for an LVAD at Cavanagh Heart Center is evaluated by a team of doctors, nurses, a LVAD coordinator, a case manager, a social worker, a dietician, a speech therapist, a physical therapist, a psychologist, a cardiac rehabilitation specialist and a financial services representative.
The LVAD's performance
During clinical trials, the LVAD was implanted in more than 5,000 patients. Most of the patients received the device to extend and improve the quality of their lives, a program referred to as destination therapy. Ninety one percent of patients were living six months after their LVAD implantation. To date, more than 6,000 patients have received LVAD implants, some living more than six years with the device greatly improving their quality of life.
Destination therapy is a term used to describe using the LVAD to help patients with end-stage heart failure who are ineligible for heart transplants.
For More Heart Failure Information
Ask our concierge, (602) 839-2400