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Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program

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Improving Your Quality of Life

Late stage, or advanced heart failure, doesn’t mean that you’ve run out of options to manage your condition and unique needs. Advanced heart failure means that conventional therapies and medicines are no longer working. You may be experiencing shortness of breath and other symptoms, even at rest.

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is often recommended for patients with late stage heart failure. It can be used as a bridge-to-transplant or as destination therapy for those who are not candidates for a heart transplant. VADs can help improve your quality of life as you continue your heart failure treatment and management plan.

At WellSpan, we are here to help you understand your treatment options and if a VAD is right for you. We will walk you through every step of the way, discussing the procedure and what you can expect before, during and after surgery.

We are committed to you and your health. We work closely with a comprehensive team of providers – from the WellSpan advanced heart failure specialists, nurse navigators, VAD coordinators, social workers, dietician, palliative care and behavioral health providers.  


How We Can Help

A VAD is a mechanical pump that helps increase the amount of blood that flows throughout your body. It is surgically implanted in your chest. Your surgeon will connect the pump directly to your heart, at the bottom of the left ventricle. There, it will draw oxygen-rich blood and pump it to your aorta. A “driveline” that is attached to the pump is then brought through the skin and attached to a controller. The controller allows the patient and his VAD team to control and monitor the pump’s function.

A VAD can offer many benefits to patients. The most important is a return to some of the activities that are most important to you. Other benefits include:

  • Improve heart function and blood flow
  • Reduce heart failure symptoms that are keeping you from your daily life
  • Improved organ function

The latest advances in VAD offer exciting, new benefits and opportunities to our patients, including:

  • Smaller pumps that result in smaller incisions
  • Easy to manage, wearable system
  • Lower dose medication, including anti-clotting maintenance
  • Overall improved long term outcomes