Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)
The ventricular assist device sustains the patient's life while awaiting heart transplant. It is designed to assume function for either or both of the heart's ventricles, the portion of the heart responsible for pumping blood through the lungs and out to the body.
Clinical expertise in Cardiac Care at Children’s Health℠ has led to the first ventricular assist device surgery ever performed at the hospital.The doctors surgically implanted a Thoratec left ventricular assist device in 15-year-old patient Michael Gonzalez.
Many adult patients with VADs are able to leave the hospital once they are hemodynamically stable and their anticoagulation (blood thinners) and other issues are stable, so they can resume a relatively normal daily life and do the "waiting" in the comfort of their own home. Since Michael requires a combined transplant, he will transition to the regular eighth floor cardiovascular unit to await a suitable donor after spending several weeks in the Cardiac ICU at Children's Health following his VAD surgery.
VADs have continued to increase in sophistication and efficiency while decreasing in size and risk since their first introduction in the late 1970's. The most common VADs used in the United States are implanted in adults during open-heart surgery, but the surgery is becoming more common in the pediatric population.