HEART FAILURE DEVICE THERAPY
Devices are used to support medications
Medications are the number one tool for treatment of heart failure. The purpose of each medication is different. Some target the cause of heart failure. Some are used to relieve heart failure symptoms while some others are used to slow the progression of heart failure and protect from complications. Sometimes however medications alone are not enough to slow heart failure and additional treatments are needed. A number of heart devices have been shown to be very beneficial when added to medications.
Heart failure devices fall into two broad categories: diagnostic and therapeutic.
Most devices are actually both diagnostic and therapeutic. These incredibly advanced devices are able to detect a heart problem and take care of it. Some devices also have the ability to monitor lung water build up and provide heart failure specialists additional tools to help prevent deterioration and hospitalization.
LEFT VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICE
Despite use of medications and devices, some people continue to progress to advanced heart failure. This is the end stage. The choices at this stage are limited. Some patients may qualify for a heart transplant based on their clinical status and other considerations. Other patients won’t do well with a heart transplantation and may benefit from a device to assist the heart with its pumping work.
A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a battery-operated, mechanical suction pump surgically implanted to help move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. These machine have become very advanced in recent years and can be lifesaving.
Ventricular assist device can be placed on the left side, on the right side or on both sides depending on how weak the heart is. Most commonly they are placed on the left side and are known as a left ventricular assist device or LVAD. LVADs are portable and patients can use them to live for years and maintain very good quality of life. are often used for weeks to months. Patients with LVADs can be discharged from the hospital and can maintain an acceptable quality of life.