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
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Echocardiogram —size, shape, and motion of the heart are examined using sound waves
- X-ray —uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
- 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
or other anti-inflammatory drugs for one week before surgery. You may also need to stop taking blood-thinning medicines, such as:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
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.
- As prescribed by your doctor, take blood thinners. These will prevent blood clots.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. She will tell you:
- 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, increasing pain, 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.americanheart.org
United States Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/splash
HFSA 2006 Comprehensive Heart Failure Practice Guideline
Implantable ventricular assist device (VAD). Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/guide/disease/heartfailure/lvad.htm . Accessed September 4, 2009.
The Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.debakeydepartmentofsurgery.org/ . Accessed September 4, 2009.
The Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure (REMATCH) trial. NEJM. 2001 Volume345:1435-1443
Slaughter M, Milano C, Russel S, et al. Advanced heart failure treated with continuous-flow ventricular assist device. N Engl J Med. 2009; DOI:101056/NEJMoa0909938. Available at: http://www.nejm.org .
3/6/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : 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
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -