Treatment Team Roles at UPMC's Artificial Heart Program

Cardiac Surgeons

  • Evaluate patients to determine whether they are eligible for a ventricular assist device (VAD) or for heart transplantation.
  • Perform the donor and transplant operation.
  • Manage any surgical decisions.

Cardiologists

  • Manage patients' medical treatment.
  • Provide support throughout the entire process of implantation or transplantation.
  • Participate in the selection of suitable VADs and stabilize patients before surgery.

Biomedical Engineers from Vital Engineering, a UPMC Program

  • Help and support hospital staff members who care for patients on VADs.
  • Perform routine checks on the devices.
  • Help transport patients to and from medical tests.

Clinical Nurses

  • Provide care before, during, and after a patient receives a VAD.
  • Assess the patient's physical condition.
  • Explain the risks and benefits of assist devices and advise patients about any complications.
  • Help educate patients and families about VADs.

Physical Therapists

  • Evaluate the patient's ability to walk and exercise.
  • Set treatment and rehabilitation goals after VAD implantation.
  • Develop home exercise programs to improve the patient's physical condition.

Occupational Therapists

Evaluate the patient's ability to perform the activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, preparing meals, and other tasks.

Respiratory Therapists

  • Evaluate the patient's respiratory care needs before, during, and after implantation of a VAD.
  • Administer medications, inhalers, and breathing exercises to help the lungs become strong.

Technicians

  • Support patients who have a temporary device, known as an intraoperative balloon pump (IABP).
  • Transport VAD patients to surgery.
  • Perform routine checks on VAD and assist the biomedical engineers.

 » View our experts at the UPMC Artificial Heart program.

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