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The LVAD pulls blood from the left ventricle into a pump. The pump then sends blood into the aorta (the large blood vessel leaving the left ventricle). This helps the weakened ventricle. The pump is placed in the upper part of the abdomen, while another tube attached to the pump is brought out of the abdominal wall to the outside of the body and attached to the pump's battery and control system.
LVADs are now portable and can be used for many years. Patients with LVADs can be discharged from the hospital, return to their normal activities and enjoy a good quality of life while waiting for a donor heart to become available. Destination therapy patients, who are not transplant candidates, can also enjoy this same quality of life for years after implantation.
Who can get a LVAD?
For a patient to receive a LVAD, they need to have a heart sick enough to need one, but must not be too sick overall—otherwise the LVAD is too risky. To determine whether the heart is sick enough, and whether the rest of the body in in good enough shape. we perform a number of objective tests.
When the evaluation has finished, your cardiologist will present your case to the LVAD/heart transplant selection committee. The committee meets weekly to determine whether LVAD is the right therapy for you.