Patients waiting for transplant can undergo this procedure while they wait for a heart to be available for transplant. Those who are not fit enough to undergo transplant surgery, also benefit from LVAD as it improves the quality of life and prolongs it.
This bridge-to-transplant procedure is a ray of hope for advanced stage heart failure patients. LVAD works by helping the defective left ventricle in pumping blood. It allows patients to get back to normal life while they are waiting for a heart to be available for transplant.
This powerful device is an implantable mechanical pump that is surgically connected to the heart. It is placed in the main chamber of the heart (left ventricle) for pumping oxygen-rich blood all across the body.
Your doctor will recommend this mechanical pump only when he finds that your heart is too weak to function in a normal manner.
Unlike an artificial heart that entirely replaces the failing heart, LVAD functions by working with the heart and helping it to pump more and more blood with minimum effort. It performs this function by continuously taking blood from the left ventricle and then moving it straightaway to the aorta. Aorta then transports oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.
LVAD has both external as well as internal parts. The main pump lies on or next to the heart's left ventricle. It has a tube attached that guides the blood to aorta and a cable (driveline) which extends from the pump connecting it to a controller and power sources that are worn outside the body.
In order to ensure that the pump works smoothly, it is essential that the driveline is connected to controller which is further connected to power all the time. This pump gains power from electricity or batteries. There are special carrying cases for this device so that you can move freely with them.
Before the Procedure : You would require to stay in hospital for several days in order for you to be prepared for the procedure. Since you have a weak heart, your doctor may initially recommend a series of investigations like ECG, Echo, blood tests, Chest X-ray and Cardiac Catheterization followed by supportive treatment to prepare you for the procedure.
During the Procedure: The procedure for implanting a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is an open-heart surgical procedure that usually takes 4 to 6 hours and is performed under general anesthesia. While your surgeon reaches out to the heart through an incision in the chest, you will be kept on a heart-lung machine during the surgery. While your heart is put to rest, this machine will make oxygenated blood flow through your body during surgery.
The team of doctors then carefully implant the device which has a tube for carrying blood from the left ventricle to the artery that leads out to the body from the heart for delivering blood to the body. A cable is then inserted through the skin for connecting the pump to the control unit and battery pack which is outside your body.
After the Procedure: Once the surgery gets completed, you will be shifted to ICU for close monitoring of your vitals and extensive care. Any signs of infection or complication are immediately given attention and treatment for curing them. As your recovery progresses, you will be moved to a step down or ward area.
You will be kept on antibiotics and blood-thinners for preventing infection or any complications during your post-op stay in the hospital. Your doctor would ask you to continue taking blood-thinners like aspirin or warfarin in the time duration when you have your LVAD in order to prevent clotting of blood.
Similar to any other device, this too has some risks associated with it. So, you should be familiar with the same as you decide to undergo the LVAD procedure -
But all these can be easily avoided or managed if you are under the expert care of the best cardiac doctors in India who are experts in monitoring and managing any such complication.
With the help of innovative technology and experienced doctors, LVAD procedure has become highly popular choice amongst the heart failure patients. It will help you to lead a better quality of life as you experience the following post-procedure -