Heart Assist System Implantation

A heart assist system implantation is an artificial heart. It is also called a ventricular assist device (VAD). This single-chamber artificial heart works by compressed air or battery power. The device boosts the function of a failing heart ventricle. Left Ventricular Assist DeviceCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Increasing pain
    • One-sided weakness, blurry vision, or inability to talk
    • A cold, pale or blue, numb, or painful extremity
    • Cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain
    • Nausea, vomiting
    • Problems with urination or bowel movements
    • Redness or swelling in legs.
    • Warning indications from the device

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A heart assist system implantation is an artificial heart. It is also called a ventricular assist device (VAD). This single-chamber artificial heart works by compressed air or battery power. The device boosts the function of a failing heart ventricle.

    Left Ventricular Assist Device
    Nucleus image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Heart failure occurs when the heart is too weak to pump all the blood it receives and blood begins to back up. Blood can back up into the lungs and into the lower parts of the body. This can cause trouble breathing, cough, and swelling of the legs and ankles.


    Getting a VAD is a way to improve the heart's ability to pump without having a
    heart transplant. A VAD is sometimes referred to as a bridge to transplant, since it can be used while a person is waiting for a
    heart transplant. This device can also be used for permanent treatment in people who:

    • Are not candidates for transplant
    • Do not respond to standard treatment
    • Have a low risk of surviving one year

  • Possible Complications

    If you are planning to have VAD implantation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Bleeding
    • Blood clots
    • Infection
    • Device failure
    • Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
    • Kidney, lung, or heart damage

    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • A serious infectious disease
    • Advanced disease of vital organs other than the heart
    • Blood clotting disorder
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Smoking

    Also, if you have a small stature, you may not be able to get a VAD due to the size of the device.

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.