Features February 2011 Issue

Advances in Ventricular Assist Devices Improve Care of Heart Failure Patients

VADs help improve the lives of patients waiting for heart transplants, as well as those who are not good candidates for transplantation.

When a heart becomes too weak to pump blood effectively throughout the body, a condition known as heart failure, treatment options include medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), surgery to address the underlying cause of the heart failure, or devices such as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) to help improve and regulate heart activity. But in more severe cases, when a heart transplant may be the only remaining option, a ventricular assist device (VAD) can sustain a patient until a donor heart is available. A VAD essentially takes over the function of your own ventricle and pumps blood from the heart.

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