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Who Needs a Ventricular Assist Device?

You may benefit from a ventricular assist device (VAD) if your heart doesn't work well because of heart disease. Heart disease can prevent your heart from pumping enough blood to your body.

A VAD can help support your heart:

  • During or after surgery, until your heart recovers.
  • While you're waiting for a heart transplant.
  • If you're not eligible for a heart transplant. (A VAD can be a long-term solution to help your heart work better.)

Short-Term Ventricular Assist Devices

A VAD can support heart function and blood flow for a short time before, during, and/or after heart surgery until your heart recovers. Your doctor may recommend a short-term VAD if you have a severe heart condition, such as heart failure, a ventricular arrhythmia, or cardiogenic shock.

You also might use a VAD if you have heart failure and your doctors need more time to plan your treatment.

Long-Term Ventricular Assist Devices

If you have heart failure and are waiting for a heart transplant, your doctor may recommend a VAD. If heart failure medicines aren't working well, a VAD can keep you alive and improve your quality of life while you wait for a donor heart.

If you're not eligible for a heart transplant, a VAD might be a long-term treatment option. It can improve your quality of life and allow you to do many daily activities.

When Are Ventricular Assist Devices Not Recommended?

VADs might not be a treatment option for people who have certain serious health conditions. Examples of these conditions include severe kidney failure, serious brain injuries, severe infections, and other life-threatening conditions.

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Last Updated: March 31, 2012