What is an LVAD?

Physicians at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center Cooley Transplant 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.