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What is a VAD?


A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical pump. When one of the heart’s natural pumps (a ventricle) does not perform well, a VAD is used to increase the amount of blood that flows through the body. Having a VAD implant allows most people with advanced heart failure to return to a fuller life.

A VAD consists of:

  • A pump that is attached to a ventricle inside the body.
  • An external controller, which is a small computer that monitors the pump.
  • A driveline cable, which connects the pump to the controller.
  • Power sources that run the pump and controller.

How does it work?

The HVAD Pump is surgically implanted in the chest, in a sac around the heart known as the pericardial space. The small size of the pump allows it to be implanted using a smaller incision than required with older VAD technologies.

The HVAD Pump is connected directly to your heart at the bottom of the left ventricle, where it draws oxygen-rich blood through the pump and pushes it into your aorta. Once blood reaches the aorta, it can flow to the rest of the body.

Despite the compact size of the HVAD Pump, it can pump enough blood every minute to decrease heart failure symptoms. Your doctor will program the HVAD Pump so it delivers the right amount of flow for your body’s needs.

The driveline is connected to the pump. The driveline exits the body through a small incision in the skin, and connects to the controller.