Left Ventricular Assist Device

What Does It Accomplish?

A left ventricular assist device will partially relieve the symptoms of severe heart failure, such as breathlessness and fatigue.
The left ventricular assist device can "buy time" for a patient needing a heart transplant or nearing the end of life. Since many ventricular assist devices are portable, patients can live at home and resume some activities while waiting for a heart transplant.

Potential Complications

The surgery to implant a left ventricular assist device carries risks of severe complications. Potential complications include:
  • Bleeding
  • Development of blood clots
  • Respiratory failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Device failure.
Your doctor can tell you more about the risks associated with ventricular assist devices.

Who Should Not Use a Left Ventricular Assist Device?

A left ventricular assist device should be used only in patients who are eligible for heart transplants or who have severe end-stage congestive heart failure and are not candidates for heart transplants.
Some ventricular assist devices cannot be used with very short or very thin patients who have low body surface areas.
Poor candidates for ventricular assist devices include people with:
  • Irreversible kidney failure
  • Severe liver disease
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Severe lung disease
  • Infections that do not respond to antibiotics.
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