Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a mechanical circulatory support device, is used to treat patients with advanced heart failure. Congestive heart failure affects nearly 5 million people in the United States and can be caused by obesity, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. In some cases, there is no known cause.

The symptoms of congestive heart failure may also be attributed other conditions, which is why it is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing/wheezing
  • Noticeable weight gain
  • Increase pulse rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty performing small everyday tasks

Congestive heart failure can progressively worsen until heart transplantation or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) may be needed to help relieve symptoms. The multidisciplinary team at UK HealthCare will determine which option is the best for you.

The LVAD can be used to serve three different purposes: 

  • Bridge to transplant – Some patients receive an LVAD as a temporary solution to sustain their health until a donor is found for a heart transplant.

  • Destination therapy – Some patients receive an LVAD as a permanent solution to advanced heart failure.

  • Bridge to recovery – Occasionally an LVAD is used temporarily to allow a patient’s heart to regain strength and then the LVAD is removed

Additional LVAD resources:

Learning the parts of an LVAD 

Living with an LVAD 


Page last updated: 2/13/2015 2:55:50 PM