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Saint Thomas Heart

Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is designed for patients with severe heart failure who have exhausted traditional forms of treatment. A LVAD implant is surgically attached to the left ventricle and the aorta, which is the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body.  After implantation, the VAD takes over the pumping function of the left ventricle. 

A VAD is used to support the patient and improve his or her quality of life while waiting for a donor heart to become available.  The patient can remain at home and perform normal activities. This process and use of the VAD is known as the “bridge to transplantation.”

In addition, in some cases, a patient may not be a candidate for a heart transplant due to age or other medical conditions. In this instance, a VAD may be used as a permanent option.  This process and use of the VAD is known as “destination therapy.”  Without this treatment, advanced heart failure patients would have extremely poor prospects for survival and a very limited lifestyle.

Saint Thomas Heart is a Destination Therapy-certified program in Middle Tennessee. This means that Saint Thomas West Hospital is certified to offer the newest battery operated heart pump as a life-saving permanent solution to treat congestive heart failure.

In addition, Saint Thomas West Hospital is one of 60 select centers across the United States chosen to evaluate the Thoratec® HeartMate™ III Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), a new advancement in mechanical circulatory support (MCS). The MOMENTUM 3 Clinical Trial is designed to evaluate the performance and safety of the HeartMate 3 at six months of LVAD support in subjects with advanced heart failure.