Ventricular Assist Device

Ventricular Assist Device

A ventricular assist device (VAD), is a mechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. Some VADs are intended for short term use, typically for patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery, while others are intended for long term use (months to years and in some cases for life), typically for patients suffering from congestive heart failure.

VADs need to be clearly distinguished from artificial hearts, which are designed to completely take over cardiac function and generally require the removal of the patient's heart.

VADs are designed to assist either the right (RVAD) or left (LVAD) ventricle, or both at once (BiVAD). Which of these types is used depends primarily on the underlying heart disease and the pulmonary arterial resistance that determines the load on the right ventricle.

LVADs are most commonly used, but when pulmonary arterial resistance is high, right ventricular assistance becomes necessary. Long term VADs are normally used to keep patients alive with a good quality of life while they wait for a heart transplantation (known as a "bridge to transplantation"). However, LVADs are sometimes used as destination therapy and sometimes as a bridge to recovery.

In the last few years, VADs have improved significantly in terms of providing survival and quality of life among recipients.

Read more about Ventricular Assist Device:  History, Complications and Side Effects, List of Implantable VAD Devices

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