Ventricular assist device

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 24 Jan 2024

Ventricular assist devices (VAD) are a mechanical circulatory support device, which is providing an effective therapy for a significant number of patients with advanced heart failure. There are mostly left VADs, although right VADs are also implanted. 

  • inflow cannulas 

  • electrically supplied pump

  • outflow cannula

  • driveline 

  • external controller

The patient’s cardiac function and the speed settings of the VAD determine the amount of blood flow that is pumped by this device.

  • bridge to transplant: VADs have considerably improved the care of patients awaiting heart transplantation

  • destination therapy: patients implanted as “destination therapy” will remain on the VAD for the rest of their lives

  • bridge to recovery: temporary VAD provides support for a few days or weeks

  • perioperative hemorrhage

  • air embolism

  • right ventricular failure after left VAD implantation

  • infection

  • thromboembolism

  • device malfunction/failure

  • pump thrombosis

  • stroke

  • dysrhythmia

  • aortic regurgitation

As long as patient use this device, LVAD function, patient perfusion, and mean arterial pressure are being assessed and anticoagulation (warfarin) and antiplatelet therapy have to be used.

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