Ventricular Assist Device

What Does It Accomplish?

A ventricular assist device will partially relieve the symptoms of severe heart failure, such as breathlessness and fatigue.
The device will "buy time" for a patient needing a heart transplant or who is 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.

What Are the Risks?

The surgery to implant a 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.

When Should a Ventricular Assist Device Not Be Used?

A 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 on 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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Heart Failure Info

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