Who Can Benefit from Ventricular Assist Devices
If your heart is too damaged or weak to respond to medical therapies, you may benefit from mechanical circulatory support.
Ventricular assist devices (VADs) can act as bridges to transplantation, allowing people to live healthier lives while awaiting the availability of a suitable donor heart. They also can act as permanent replacements that do the heart's work of circulating blood.
Bridge to Transplantation
If you're waiting for a donor heart to become available, you may qualify for VAD implantation if you have all of the following:
- Advanced (end-stage) heart failure
- Heart failure that has not responded to medical therapy
- Heart failure that has not improved after continuous intravenous (IV) inotropic therapy (medication to help the heart pump more forcefully)
- A heart that has become so weak that you may not have time to wait for a suitable donor heart
Bridge to Recovery
Some people with heart failure may be eligible for a VAD as a bridge to recovery.
In these cases, VAD support continues until the heart is strong enough to meet the body's demands on its own. Our program has weaned more than 19 patients from VADs in this way.
Typically, people recommended for VAD used as a bridge to recovery have heart failure as a result of:
- Viral infection (myocarditis)
- Childbirth (postpartum cardiomyopathy)
- A heart attack
- Another cause of heart disease that has not responded to medical therapy
Your doctor may recommend ventricular assist device therapy as a permanent alternative to heart transplantation. This is called destination VAD therapy.
For end-stage heart failure patients who are not eligible for heart transplantation, destination VAD therapy can:
- Support a failing heart for several months or even years
- Lengthen their survival time
- Improve their quality of life
Interested in learning more about heart and vascular treatments?
Request an appointment today.