What is LVAD?

LVAD (left ventricular assist device) is a type of mechanical circulatory device that is usually recommended to patients who have a history of heart attack or whose heart muscles are very weak and incapable of working on their own. It is a small mechanical pump that can be directly implanted in the left ventricle, so as to aid the heart in carrying out its function of pumping blood to various parts of the body.

The device may also be used by patients who are waiting for a heart transplant and have not found a donor yet. Left ventricular assist device is totally different from an artificial heart as it does not replace the organ but rather assists it. Also referred to as a 'bridge to transplant, left ventricular assist device might also be recommended as a destination therapy for terminally ill patients.

The device has 4 basic parts - a pump, a tube, a driveline and a controller.

The pump is surgically implanted in the apex of the heart where it receives the blood, which is then carried to the aorta via the tube. The pump is attached to the driveline and the controller. The device runs on rechargeable batteries.

Left ventricular assist device not only helps to restore your blood flow but also helps to alleviate symptoms like chest discomfort and pain.

Things you need to know

  • The surgical procedure takes anywhere between 4 to 6 hours
  • You will be required to stay in the hospital for around two to three weeks
  • Your average length of stay depends upon how well you are responding to the treatment

How Treat India helps you to find the best healthcare facility in India? 

  • Over the last few years, India has become one of the leading hubs for medical tourism, attracting lakhs of patients from across borders and seas. With hundreds and thousands of options to choose from, it becomes rather difficult to make your decision. With a curated list of around 101 Hospitals & Clinics and 95 doctors & surgeons, Treat India is your ultimate guide to finding quality treatment in India.
  • We provide you with access to the top doctors and surgeons specializing in LVA, to help you make an informed decision and ensure the right optimization of your time and finances.
  • Connect with us to know more about your treatment and how we plan your medical journey with our experts.  

How to prepare for the treatment? 

  • You will be required to undergo a series of diagnostic tests, such as an echocardiogram or right heart catheterization, for proper assessment and evaluation.
  • You need to make sure that your doctor is well aware of your medical history
  • You need to inform your doctor about any other medications that you have been taking
  • You need to strictly refrain from smoking and drinking
  • You will be required to take certain medication so as to prepare your body and help you fight the risks of infections during and post-surgery.

Procedure involved

  • The surgical procedure is carried out under the influence of anaesthesia
  • You will be connected to a ventilator to help you breathe throughout the surgery
  • The surgical site will be cleaned and followed by making a long vertical incision
  • Your chest bones will be carefully separated to open your rib cage and access your heart
  • Your heart will be made to stop using certain medications and you will be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine to ensure an uninterrupted flow of blood throughout your body
  • The device will be carefully implanted with the tube connecting the left ventricle to the pump
  • The pump is also connected to the battery pack with the help of a cable
  • After the device has been implanted successfully, the heart-lung bypass machine will be stopped and the ventricular assist device will be allowed to pump blood
  • After ensuring that the device is functioning properly, the incision will be closed and covered properly.

What to expect after the procedure? 

  • After the surgery, you will be shifted to the ICU where you will be kept under keen observation for 4 to 5 days.
  • An echocardiogram will be taken to assess the working of your heart and the device
  • You will be trained to handle your equipment without any assistance
  • You will need to resort to a healthy lifestyle and dietary modifications.
  • You will be required to take all the prescribed drugs religiously
  • You need to regularly monitor your vital signs, weight and LVAD data.

Potential risks that you need to know about

  • Internal bleeding
  • Device failure
  • Respiratory failure
     

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