A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a
heart pump, is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the
rest of your body.
This picture shows one type of a left-ventricular assist
device (LVAD). This device pulls blood from the left ventricle and pumps it to the
aorta and the rest of the body. Other types of VADs pull blood from the right
ventricle or both ventricles and pump it to the rest of the body. The heart
still pumps some blood on its own. But the VAD helps the heart pump blood
A VAD can be implanted inside the body or worn outside the
body. If it is implanted, surgery is done to place it in the chest area. The
pump part of the VAD is placed in a small space in your upper abdomen. After
the VAD has been implanted, your doctor will make another small incision in
your side to connect the electrical wires that power the device.
The pump part of a VAD can be implanted, but the VAD battery and control
system are worn outside the body. The battery pack and control system can be
worn on a shoulder strap and belt.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as of
March 12, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
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