While on a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), Heather's failing heart regained strength and she was able to avoid a heart transplant.
In 1985, UPMC surgeons implanted the nation's second Jarvik Artificial Heart as a bridge-to-transplantation. In 1990, UPMC became the first medical center to discharge a patient on a ventricular assist device (VAD).
Today, we continue to pioneer the use of mechanical circulatory support devices, treating more than 1,000 people, and making our Artificial Heart program one of the most active program of its kind.
From implanting the Jarvik Artificial Heart in 1985 to today's advanced circulatory support devices, the UPMC Artificial Heart Program continually sets the standard in technological innovation and clinical excellence.
Our clinicians are always working to develop new ventricular assist device (VAD) designs and improve existing designs, and we've applied this research to improving both patient survival and quality of life after implantation.
Our program has served as a national training center for medical centers implementing certain VAD programs. To date, approximately 60 centers throughout the United States have sent teams of specialists to Pittsburgh for training exercises led by Artificial Heart Program staff.
Researchers and clinicians in the Artificial Heart Program partner with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a world-renowned organization that develops therapies to re-establish function in tissues and organs impaired by disease, trauma, or congenital abnormalities. This partnership gives our surgeons access to the latest in VAD designs.
We're also studying new short-term left and right heart support devices that can be implemented through minimally invasive approaches.
Over the years, we've developed effective ways of working with VADs and the people who need them.
We've refined our techniques and protocols to function with the utmost efficiency, and our comprehensive approach has produced an objectively impressive measure of success.
Our doctors, engineers, and researchers work with other members of the care team to:
The Artificial Heart Program at UPMC includes a multidisciplinary team of some of the best minds in the world in cardiovascular health.
From the day you first meet with us until the day you are discharged (and beyond), we will work with you and each other to arrive at the best treatment decisions.
We don't treat hearts — we treat people.
Our team of heart surgeons provides the knowledge and skill necessary for patient selection, device implantation surgery, and postoperative care.
Evaluate the patient's ability to perform the activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, preparing meals, and other tasks.
When referring patients to the VAD Implantation Program at UPMC, please call our 24-hour physician referral line at 1-866-884-8579 and include the information listed below.
Pertinent medical records if available, including:
For non-urgent referrals, call the UPMC Advanced Heart Failure Center at 1-844-876-2432 (UPMC-HEART).
Several models of ventricular assist devices (VADs) — also called artificial heart devices — exist.
Selecting the best mechanical heart device for your condition depends on many criteria, such as:
Devices provide left, right, or both left and right heart support.
Your doctors will know which one is right for you. In some cases, your condition will dictate your doctor's decision.
We welcome your questions and comments and hope to help in any way that we can.
Physicians may call UPMC's 24-hour physician referral service at 1-866-884-8579 or 412-692-2400 to:
For non-urgent referrals, call 1-844-876-2432 (UPMC-HEART).
UPMC Artificial Heart Program
330 Scaife Hall
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213