Dr. Craig Smith - What Is a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)?

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The left ventricular assist device is a form of mechanical assistance for a failing heart. It's a device that pumps blood to take over the pumping capacity of the ventricle that has failed, and it's a mechanical device rather than being a biological device which you could think of as being a transplant. So it's very mechanical.

It is in the general category of the artificial heart, which people understand little bit better conceptually. There're assist devices for the left side, LVAD, Left Ventricular Assist Device, and for the right side, RVAD, Right Ventricular Assist Device. Each has it's role, if both ventricles are failing then both might need to be assisted and you would have RVAD, LVAD or BiVAD for both ventricles assistance.

There's a longer discussion about whether this is the sign to be temporary or permanent, there is increasing experience with assist devices of one kind to begin to approach what you think of the artificial heart. There are also becoming much more frequent although the majority of what is done in the country is still temporary support of one of the other ventricles.