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What is an LVAD device?

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Quick Answer

A left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, is a pump that boosts the heart's pumping ability in patients with a weakened heart, according to WebMD. Doctors insert this pump into the patient's chest underneath the heart through a surgical procedure.

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Full Answer

The left ventricular assist device allows the heart to rest after open heart surgery, and it boosts the heart before a heart transplant, says WebMD. It also acts as a destination therapy, which is an option for patients if heart transplant is not an option. When applied, this pump alleviates heart disease-associated symptoms such as frequent tiredness and shortness of breath. Although the pump rarely restores the heart's normal functioning, it keeps other body organs working or enhances their performance.

To implant an LVAD pump, a doctor connects one of its ends to the heart's left ventricle and the remaining end to the aorta, as WebMD explains. This connection allows the pump to receive the blood from the ventricles and transmit the blood to the aorta once the pump fills up.

Although helpful, the LVAD pump may result in conditions such as heart and kidney failure, blood clots, and internal bleeding, warns WebMD. It may also predispose an individual to stroke and failure in the respiratory system.

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