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:
The HeartWare™ HVAD™ Pump is surgically implanted in your chest, in a sac around your 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 cable that connects the pump to the controller is fed through a small incision in your abdomen.
Living with the HVAD System includes managing the equipment that runs the pump.
The controller is a mini computer that monitors the pump. It provides text messages and audible alarms to help you manage the system. The controller runs on two batteries or one battery combined with electricity from a wall or car outlet. Two fully charged batteries can run the controller for 8 to 12 hours. The HVAD System comes with several batteries, a battery charger, and multiple power adapters.
Together, the controller and batteries weigh less than 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg). Carrying packs come in several styles. Each one is designed for easy, hands-free use.