The INTEGRIS Advanced Cardiac Care program offers heart assist devices to give end-stage heart patients the opportunity to live more complete, normal and active lives during bridge-to-transplant therapy.
What is a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)?
The LVAD is an electric heart assist device designed to pump blood to the body in patients with a failing left ventricle. LVADs have several uses: bridge to transplantation, bridge to recovery, and permanent therapy for end-stage heart failure. In the United States, there are nearly 4,000 people on the heart transplant waiting list. Only about 2,000 hearts become available per year. The LVAD can be used “bridge” these patients to transplant when waiting is no longer possible. Once in a while, a patient’s heart will recover enough that the device can be removed permanently.
How long will the surgery last?
LVAD implantation requires a surgery that lasts about 8 to 12 hours. After the surgery the patient will be taken to the Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (801).
While the patient is in surgery, family members/friends will wait in a waiting room where our staff will update them regarding progress. Family/friends can get a pager from the volunteer in the ICU waiting room, allowing them to be contacted when out of the room.
Dr. David Nelson explains the left ventricular assisst device, or LVAD.
What external components are involved with the LVAD?
All devices require external power sources. This may be batteries, a power base unit, or an external driver depending on the type of LVAD. All LVADs also require a controller.
What will life be like on the LVAD?
Life with an LVAD has few restrictions. We encourage exercise, travel, and other activities that patients enjoyed before receiving a device. Here is a list of a few:
- Travel by airplane, commercial boat, or car
- Mow the lawn, garden, or other yard work
- Work with properly grounded power tools
- Exercise like walking, biking, short hikes
- Go to the movie theater, dinner, etc.