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Definition of Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs)
Ventricular Assist Devices – Implanted mechanical pumps that aid the native heart, taking over some of the workload of the ventricles.
Several types of VADs are available, each with somewhat different features and functions.
A VAD may assist the right or left ventricle, and in some cases both ventricles, as a bridge device while awaiting a donor heart for heart transplantation or as a permanent device to treat end-stage heart failure, a therapeutic application sometimes called destination therapy.
The VAD sometimes allows the heart to recover sufficiently that the VAD becomes unnecessary and the surgeon can remove it.
The open heart surgery to implant the VAD takes between three and eight hours, depending on the person’s cardiovascular status and the type of Ventricular assist devices (VAD) the surgeon is implanting.
Risks of Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) Implantation
Though Ventricular assist devices (VADs) offer hope of extended survival and improved quality of life for many people whose heart failure would otherwise be fatal, living with an implanted device requires conscientious and consistent attentiveness.
Recipients must take anticoagulant medications and may require other medications, depending on their underlying cardiovascular disease (cvd).
Ongoing risks include infection, mechanical failure of the vad, damage to blood cells, bleeding at the implant site, clot formation resulting in stroke or pulmonary embolism, and worsening of cardiovascular status that may require additional therapeutic intervention including surgery.
Because the VAD became an approved treatment in the United States only in 2004, doctors do not yet know the long-term benefits and risks of VAD implantation.