Sometimes patients with advanced heart failure continue to get worse despite good medical care. A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical blood pump that takes over the function of one or both of the chambers of the heart.
Although primarily used as a treatment for critically ill patients who are waiting for a heart transplant, VADs also can extend and improve the lives of patients who are not heart-transplant candidates.
Patients who are being considered for VAD placement are evaluated to determine if they would benefit from the surgery and what type of after-surgery support is needed. Our team of doctors and nurses are involved in each patient’s care. Social workers, dieticians, and other medical specialists also are available according to a patient’s condition and medical history. The evaluation includes education with a VAD nurse coordinator to help patients and their families understand what to expect after surgery.
In July 2010, UI Heart and Vascular Center received national certification for its VAD program. It is the only such designation in Iowa.