Ventricular Assist Device | VAD

People with heart disease may be helped with a ventricular assist device, also known as VAD. The ventricular assist device does the work of a healthy heart. The ventricular assist device supports blood flow and heart function for people with weakened hearts.

Talk with your cardiologist or primary care provider to learn more about the ventricular assist device and whether it is right for you.

What is the ventricular assist device?

The ventricular assist device, or VAD, is a mechanical pump that supports heart function. It helps move blood from a lower heart chamber to vital organs throughout the body. People benefit from the ventricular assist device:

  • During or after surgery, as their heart recovers

  • While waiting for a heart transplant

  • As a long-term solution for people who are ineligible for a heart transplant

How does the VAD work?

A tube carries blood from your heart to a mechanical pump. Another tube takes the blood from the pump to your blood vessels.

A power source controls the unit. There are warnings and alarms to let patients know if the power is low, or the device is not functioning as it should.

There are two basic designs for the VAD.

  • Transcutaneous VAD: Pump and power source are outside the body. Small holes in the abdomen allow the tubes to run from the pump to the heart. This type of VAD is for short-term support.

  • Implantable VAD: The pump is inside the body, and the power source is outside of the body. A cable runs through a small hole in the abdomen, connecting the pump to the power source, which is portable and can be worn on a belt.

Do you have questions about heart health?

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