What is an LVAD? Is an LVAD an approved treatment option?


Question:

What is an LVAD?

Answer

Physicians at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center and the Texas Heart® Institute believe that an LVAD is the first acceptable solution for long-term support of heart failure patients because it allows them to leave the hospital and return to active, productive lives.

More than 4 million Americans have congestive heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. The disease causes fatigue and shortness of breath as fluid accumulates in the lungs and tissue. Leading causes of heart failure are damage to heart muscle from coronary artery disease or high blood pressure.

LVAD is known as a left ventricular assist device because it helps the left ventricle – the heart's main pumping chamber – circulate blood throughout the body. The device consists of a pump that is implanted in the abdomen, which has an electrical cable that connects to external battery packs. The packs are worn on the shoulders and electronic controls are worn on the belt.

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is among the nation’s first cardiovascular centers to offer  LVAD's – the Thoratec HeartMate® XVE, the HeartMate® II LVAD, Jarvik and HeartWare® – for destination therapy and bridge to transplant for patients that suffer from end-stage heart disease.

  • Destination Therapy is a permanent option for patients with heart failure who are not candidates for heart transplantation.
  • BTT (Bridge to Transplantation) is a treatment option in which an LVAD is used while a patient is waiting for a heart transplant.

Question:

Is an LVAD an approved treatment option?

Answer

The FDA approved the HeartMate® LVAD for destination therapy based on results of the landmark REMATCH clinical trial that demonstrated the device nearly doubled and tripled survival at one and two years respectively, and improved quality of life in this patient group. Physicians at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Transplant Center and the Texas Heart® Institute have implanted over 1,000 LVAD devices since 1986.

The Texas Heart® Institute at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center originated the laboratory and clinical research on all LVAD pumps including the HeartMate® XVE, HeartMate® II, Jarvik, and HeartWare®, and implanted the first 20 HeartMate® LVADs in the world. O.H. “Bud” Frazier, MD, and his team initiated the research which led to the REMATCH study and have implanted more of the devices than any other heart center worldwide.

If you suffer from congestive heart failure and want to know if you may be a candidate for an LVAD as a permanent implant, please contact us at 832-355-2285 or toll free at 877-685-0361.

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