Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
Heart failure means your heart is too damaged or weak to circulate enough blood to your body. Your doctor may tell you your heart needs the help of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). An LVAD helps your left ventricle—the large, muscular chamber of the heart—pump blood to the aorta, the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body.
Advanced, Certified Therapy
UNC Medical Center is one of the major academic medical centers in the United States at the forefront of advancing LVAD technology. We’ve been a Joint-Commission-certified LVAD Destination Therapy Center since 2010.
UNC Medical Center also holds the distinction of being a Medicare/Medicaid approved Destination Therapy Center.
Who Needs an LVAD?
You may need an LVAD for your heart failure because:
- You are waiting for a heart transplant and LVAD is a temporary treatment to keep your heart functioning until you get a new donor heart
- You are not a candidate for heart transplantation and need an LVAD to provide destination therapy or long-term heart failure treatment, in this case your doctor may permanently implant an LVAD
How Does an LVAD Work?
An LVAD doesn’t replace your heart; it aids your heart by pulling blood from the left ventricle into a pump and sending it to the aorta. Sometimes referred to as a heart pump, the LVAD helps decrease the effort of your left ventricle.
Your doctor will surgically place an LVAD pump in your chest attached to your heart. A cable inserted through your skin connects to the pump’s battery and control unit outside your body.
UNC Medical Center uses these VAD devices:
- Thoratec intracorporeal device – Support for either LVAD or BiVAD
- HeartMate II – Serves as a bridge to transplant or as an LVAD destination therapy
- Heart Mate 3 – Serves as a bridge to transplant or as an LVAD destination therapy
- HeartWare HVAD – Aids your heart as a LVAD to pump blood
- Berlin Heart – Serves as a bridge to transplant for pediatric patients
You’ll benefit from close follow-up and personalized care by UNC Medical Center specialists after your LVAD implantation to ensure your success. You will receive comprehensive care that includes medical management by a multidisciplinary team, detailed device teaching, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietary counseling and medication instruction.
We also work closely with your primary provider to coordinate care and support your health at home.
Learn more about UNC clinical trials for heart failure patients.