Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. This eventually leads to congestive symptoms and shortness of breath. It is a disease that worsens over time and is rarely cured.

In its early stages, heart failure can often be managed with medication and a healthy lifestyle. But as it worsens, medicine and other forms of therapy do not work.

What is a LVAD?

LVAD is a surgically implanted, battery-operated pump that supports the heart’s pumping function and helps circulate oxygen-rich blood throught the body.

It it used to sustain patients before a heart transplant or for those who aren’t eligible for a transplant and need it to prolong life. In fact, LVADs help patients with heart failure lead active lives.

Parts of the LVAD Device:

  1. Heart Pump (LVAD): Connected to the left side of the heart and moves blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
  2. Batteries: Provide up to 17 hours of uninterrupted power.
  3. Driveline: Transfers power and information between the controller and heart pump. This component is partially outside the body.
  4. Controller: Powers and checks the pump and driveline. It weighs less than one pound, discreetly slips into a front pocket and alerts the user about how the system is working.

How does the LVAD work?

The LVAD has a tube that pulls blood from the left ventricle into a pump. The pump sends the blood to a large blood vessel that carries the blood from the heart to the rest of the body, called the aorta. Another tube goes from the pump to the outside of the body through the abdominal wall. The external portion of the LVAD contains the battery and control system.

Learn how the LVAD Implant Changed the Life of One of Our Patients

About the Procedure

The LVAD is implanted by a trained cardiac surgeon in the hospital. Patients may stay in the hospital for two to four weeks for close monitoring and recovery after surgery, and there will be regular check-ups with the LVAD care team after leaving the hospital.

Most importantly, patients can return to many of the activities they enjoy once they recover from the procedure.

A Comprehensive Heart Failure Program

Northeast Georgia Medical Center has a well-established, multifaceted heart failure program. The Woody Stewart Heart Failure Treatment Unit is a 16-bed unit dedicated to the treatment of acute heart failure. Our cardiology team features heart doctors specially-trained to treat advanced heart failure patients.

Have Questions About LVAD?

If you’d like more information about LVAD options or whether you’re a candidate for LVAD, please call 770-219-4663.

For more information about the HeartMate 3 LVAD heart pump, click here.