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Left Ventricular Assist Device - Understanding Its Usage!

Dr. Sanjib Patra 89% (12 ratings)
Fellowship In Electrophysiology, Fellowship In Interventional Cardiology, DM - Cardiology, MD - Medicine, MBBS
Cardiologist, Kolkata  •  21 years experience
Left Ventricular Assist Device - Understanding Its Usage!

A left ventricular assist device is an electromechanical device used in cases of advanced heart failure. In later stages of heart failure when the heart is weakened and no longer able to pump the necessary amount of blood, a left ventricular assist device can be surgically implanted to assist the heart’s functions.

A left ventricular assist device is often used as a short term solution and is different from a pacemaker, which is a long term cardiac assist device. The cases in which a left ventricular assist device is often used are:

  • As a temporary solution while a cardiac failure patient is on a transplant list or otherwise waiting for a heart transplant.
  • During recovery from cardiac surgery when the heart is not strong enough to function on its own. The device would soon be removed as the patient recovers.
  • During recovery from heart attacks

Having a left ventricular assist device implanted gives the heart time to rest and recover, leading you to the point where your heart can go back to functioning on its own. However, there are cases where a left ventricular assist device can be implanted as a long term solution. This treatment is called Destination Therapy and requires implanting a left ventricular assist device for several months or several years.

How a Left Ventricular Assist Device works?
A Left Ventricular Assist Device can only be surgically implanted. It has both internal and external components with a pump attached to your heart and a controller on the outside of the body. The pump is attached to the heart with a tube that directs blood into the aorta. The pump and the controller are connected through a cable called the driveline. Since the Left Ventricular Assist Device is powered by electricity or batteries, a power source is also worn outside the body and is attached to the controller, powering both the controller and the pump.

How a Left Ventricular Assist Device can affect your lifestyle?
Many people around the world have Left Ventricular Assist Devices implanted on both a temporary and permanent basis. While a person should be resting while recovering from a heart attack or cardiac surgery, it is possible to go about your normal daily life whilst having a Left Ventricular Assist Device implanted. While certain exercises and stress should be avoided when having a heart condition or when implanted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device, with carrying cases for power sources and controller that can operate from various different power sources, it is easy to live a normal productive life. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.

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