Left Ventricular Assist Device

A left ventricular assist device aids the pumping action of a weakened heart ventricle (one of the major pumping chambers in the heart). The device works by receiving blood from the left ventricle and delivering it to the aorta. It should only be used in patients who are eligible for heart transplants or who have severe end-stage congestive heart failure and are not candidates for heart transplants.

What Is a Left Ventricular Assist Device?

A left ventricular assist device is a mechanical pump that helps a heart that is too weak to pump blood through the body. It is sometimes referred to as "a bridge to transplant," since it can help a patient survive until a heart transplant can be performed.
 
A ventricular assist device is used to aid the pumping action of a weakened heart ventricle (a major pumping chamber of the heart).
 
A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) receives blood from the left ventricle and delivers it to the aorta -- the large artery that carries the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. A right ventricular assist device (RVAD) receives blood from the right ventricle and delivers it to the pulmonary artery -- the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.
 

How Does a Left Ventricular Assist Device Work?

A left ventricular assist device does not replace the heart. Instead, it works with the patient's own heart to pump sufficient blood throughout the body.
 
The device consists of a pump, a control system, and an energy supply. Some ventricular assist devices rely on a battery for their energy supply; others use compressed air (pneumatic). The energy supply and the control system are located outside the body; the pump can be either inside or outside the body.
 
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Information on Congestive Heart Failure

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