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Artificial Heart

Dr Kamales Kumar Saha is one of the few surgeons in India who has undergone the Heartware 2 certified training in Berlin Heart Hospital in Germany. If you have been advised a heart transplant or a LVAD or artificial heart, contact Dr Kamales Kumar Saha for an opinion.

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is an electromechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. The function of VADs differs from that of artificial cardiac pacemakers. Some VADs are intended for short term use, typically for patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery, while others are intended for long-term use (months to years and in some cases for life), typically for patients suffering from advanced congestive heart failure.

VADs are designed to assist either the right (RVAD) or left (LVAD) ventricle, or both at once (BiVAD). The type that is used depends primarily on the underlying heart disease and the pulmonary arterial resistance that determines the load on the right ventricle.

LVADs are most commonly used, but when pulmonary arterial resistance is high, RVAD may become necessary. Long term VADs are normally used to keep patients alive with a good quality of life while they wait for a heart transplantation (known as a "bridge to transplantation"). However, the newer LVADs are often used as destination therapy, meaning the patients live a good quality life with the LVAD and there is no need for them to undergo heart transplant.

In the last few years, VADs have improved significantly in terms of providing survival and quality of life among patients.

  • A ventricular assist device has three parts:
    • A pump the newer LVADS have very small powerful pumps which can be placed in the outer covering of your heart pericardium.
    • An electronic controller. The controller is like a small computer that controls how the pump works.
    • Batteries. The batteries are carried outside your body. They are connected to the pump with a cable that usually goes into your belly.