Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump that's used to support heart function and blood flow in people who have weakened hearts.

The battery-operated implant has a tube that draws blood from the left lower chamber of the heart, known as the left ventricle. The pump then sends the blood into the aorta, the main artery.

LVADs are useful for patients awaiting heart transplants; people undergoing or recovering surgery; or patients who aren’t candidates for transplants.

An LVAD has several basic parts. A small tube carries blood out of your heart into a pump. Another tube carries blood from the pump to your blood vessels, which deliver the blood to your body.

An LVAD also has a power source that connects to a control unit. This unit monitors the VAD's functions. It gives warnings, or alarms, if the power is low or the device isn't working well.

Some LVADs pump blood like the heart does, with a pumping action. Other LVADs keep up a continuous flow of blood. With a continuous-flow LVAD, you might not have a normal pulse, but your body is getting the blood it needs.