LVAD Program

What is an LVAD?
An LVAD is referred to as a "Left Ventricular Assist Device". This mechanical device is used
to help circulate blood throughout the body when the heart becomes to weak to pump enough
blood to meet your body's needs. There are three different circumstances a LVAD is used for:

  • Bridge to Transplant - An LVAD is implanted in a patient waiting for a Heart Transplant
    and may remain in place for several years and help improve their quality of life until a
    a heart donor becomes available.
  • Destination Therapy - Destination therapy is used when an LVAD is implanted as a
    permanent solution due to age or various medical reason's that make he or she not
    eligible for a Heart Transplant. The value of life an LVAD offers continues to improve.
  • Bridge to Recovery - In rare occasions, and LVAD may be implanted for temporary
    heart failure relief. While rare, in some cases the LVAD allows the heart to rest and
    recover its strength.

How does an LVAD Work?
An LVAD is a mechanical device that is surgically implanted and attached to the heart. The LVAD takes over the pumping function 
of the left ventricle. The type of device you receive will determine how it is implanted, however UNMC currently uses Thoratec's
HeartMate II device. The HeartMate II is placed below the diaphragm in the abdomen. It's attached to the left ventricle and the 
aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body that arises from the left ventricle and it carries oxygenated blood from the left
ventricle throughout the body. The LVAD assists the heart to help pump the blood with less work. The LVAD also consists of external parts such as a controller and two batteries that can be worn under or on top of the clothing.