Heart Assist System Implantation
(Ventricular Assist Device; VAD)
|Left Ventricular Assist Device|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for Procedure
- Are not candidates for transplant
- Do not respond to standard treatment
- Have a low risk of surviving one year
- Blood clots
- Device failure
- Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
- Kidney, lung, or heart damage
- A serious infectious disease
- Advanced disease of vital organs other than the heart
- Blood clotting disorder
- Excessive alcohol consumption
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Echocardiogram—size, shape, and motion of the heart are examined
- Cardiac Catheterization—to look for coronary artery disease
- Psychological and social system evaluations to make sure you are prepared to manage the device outside of the hospital
- Avoid eating for 8 hours before the procedure
certain medications for one week before surgery. Medications often stopped include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- 2-5 days in the ICU
- 2-4 weeks in a regular hospital room
- Stay in contact with the heart center. You may be waiting for a heart transplant.
- Slowly increase your activity as instructed. Ask your doctor if you will be able to return to work.
- Take blood thinners as advised by your doctor. These will prevent blood clots.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Instructions will include:
- How to take care of your VAD
- When to contact the hospital—Make sure that you know how to call your doctor if you have an emergency.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Increasing pain
- One-sided weakness, blurry vision, or inability to talk
- A cold, pale or blue, numb, or painful extremity
- Cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting
- Problems with urination or bowel movements
- Redness or swelling in legs.
- Warning indications from the device
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
United States Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca
The Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure (REMATCH) trial. NEJM. 2001 Volume345:1435-1443
Slaughter M, Milano C, et al. Advanced heart failure treated with continuous-flow ventricular assist device. N Engl J Med. 2009; DOI:101056/NEJMoa0909938.
Ventricular assist devices (VAD). Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/heartfailure/lvad%5Fdevices.aspx. Updated December 2009. Accessed August 9, 2013.
3/6/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Peura JL, Colvin-Adams M, Francis GS, et al. Recommendations for the use of mechanical circulatory support: device strategies and patient selection: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;126(22):2648-2667.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/11/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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