Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) can help patients awaiting a heart transplant stabilize or improve, enabling them to live productive lives at home while waiting for a heart donor.
VADs consist of three main parts: an electric pump, an electronic control system, and a power supply.
The electric pump is implanted in the upper part of the abdominal wall and connected to the heart at two points. A tube carries blood from the left ventricle to the pump. The blood is then pumped through a second tube to the aorta, and distributed throughout the body.
The electronic control system is the "brain" of the VAD and controls its functioning. It is worn outside the body and connected to a tube (with wires inside) that goes into the body and is connected to the electric pump.
The third part is a power supply (rechargeable batteries) that is connected to the electronic control system and powers the VAD. Patients wear the electronic control system on a belt and the batteries on a vest-like shoulder holster.
The following devices are used to bridge patients to transplant: