Left Ventricle Assist Devices

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Cardiac Surgery

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A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical pump that helps a weakened heart pump blood throughout the body. The VAD does not replace the heart. It assists the patient’s own heart to pump blood, decreasing the work of the left ventricle.

During surgery, surgeons may attach the VAD to the apex of the left ventricle and to the aorta. When the left ventricle (the major pumping chamber of the heart) contracts, blood flows into the VAD pump. When the heart relaxes, the left ventricle fills with blood and the blood in the device is pumped into the aorta.

The VAD may also be used for long-term therapy in patients with end-stage heart disease who are not candidates for transplant.