Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) is a machine which is implanted to overcome heart failure because of various heart diseases and illnesses. VAD is placed into the chest and the wires are connected to the heart via Ventricular Assist Device Surgery.
Types of VAD are
Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) - The LVAD features a pump, which helps the weak heart pump the blood from the left ventricle (heart chamber) into the aorta (main artery that circulates oxygenated blood in the body).
Right ventricular assist device (RVAD) - This device is generally meant for short term use and supports the right ventricle of the heart. The RVAD aids the right ventricle to effectively pump blood into pulmonary artery (artery which carries blood from the heart to the lungs).
Biventricular assist device (BIVAD) - When both the ventricles face trouble with proper functioning, both right and left devices are used to help pump the blood. An alternative treatment is the implantation of a Total Artificial Heart (TAH).
The doctor may recommend the attachment of a VAD device if the patient is suffering from a severe heart disease with risk to his life.
The doctor provides all the relevant information with regard to the usage of the device. Before the surgery strength of the body is tested. In case the body needs some extra nutrition, it is given to the patient through a feeding tube.
Generally, following tests done before surgey
X-ray of the chest
EKG (measures the heart’s electrical impulses)
Echocardiography (uses sound waves to create moving images of the heart).
VAD surgery lasts for about 4 to 6 hours, and is performed under the influence of general anaesthesia,
During the surgery,
An incision is made at the centre of the chest region, the breastbone is cut and the rib cage is opened to operate on the heart.
A heart lung bypass machine is attached to the body to keep the blood moving, while the heart is stopped so that the surgeon can operate on it.
The surgeon attaches the VAD and checks if it is functioning properly. Once done, the incision is stitched up.
The recovery period after the surgery generally depends on the health of the patient prior to the surgery. In case of weakness, the patient may be kept on a ventilator and a feeding tube for a few days post surgery.
Physical therapy and other assistance helps the patient gain back his lost body strength.
The patient is discharged generally after about 2 weeks.
Although there are certain complications involved while going through a VAD surgery, many patients note a great improvement in their quality of life post-surgery. Exercise, travelling and other normal activities can be indulged in again and some patients are even allowed to drive.
Risk and Complications
Risks of undergoing a VAD surgery are
Formation of blood clots
Development of infection
Faulty functioning of the VAD device
Failure of the heart
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Disclaimer - Results may vary from person to person.
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