Because of our dedication to getting advanced heart failure patients back to living a full and healthy life, the UMC Heart Center is the only heart center in the region approved as a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD/VAD) Center.
Of the 5.7 million Americans living with heart failure, about 10 percent have advanced heart failure. American Heart Association guidelines recommend a VAD as an appropriate treatment in cases of advanced heart failure, especially for patients who are running out of options.
The VAD is a mechanical device that circulates blood throughout the body when the heart is too weak to pump blood on its own. It is placed just below the diaphragm and is attached to the left ventricle and the aorta—the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle into the entire body.
The VAD that UMC uses is the latest, smallest of all FDA-approved technology, and it is designed to restore blood flow throughout the entire body. Thus, enabling the patient to breathe easily and feel less fatigued. Patients also, usually, gain improved organ function due to the organs receiving more blood. It also has been shown that the VAD provides an opportunity for a weakened heart to regain some of its function.
In order to ensure that our patients acquiring a VAD receive the very best care, UMC uses only one specific type of VAD pump to ensure that all staff is well-trained in placement of the device.
Your UMC heart doctor will walk you through every step of your journey with a VAD including what to expect before, during and after surgery. This also includes meeting other VAD patients who can tell you what to expect, and on-staff psychologists to speak with about any feelings you have toward the procedure.
After obtaining a VAD, patients are able to resume normal activities they were no longer able to do prior. The only major limitation patients have is water immersion.
We are so glad to be able to offer this life-saving technology to our region.