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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Request an appointment today.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA