LVAD for advanced heart failure

You can depend on the heart team at the Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center of Edward-Elmhurst Health to provide expert treatment for advanced heart failure using an LVAD (left ventricular assist device):

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the LVAD for patients with severe heart failure who aren't eligible for heart transplants. Edward Hospital is the only community hospital in the Chicago area that provides LVADs to non-transplant patients.
  • We offer the HeartMate II, the most widely used and extensively studied LVAD in the world. Four out of five people with advanced heart failure who received the HeartMate II in a clinical study became free or almost free of heart failure symptoms six months after surgery — and remained so for at least two years.

A pumping mechanism to treat heart failure

Heart failure doesn't mean the heart has stopped. Rather, it means the heart isn’t pumping enough blood through the body. If you're experiencing advanced heart failure but aren't healthy enough to receive a transplant, one option that may be available to you is the LVAD.

An LVAD takes over the pumping function of the heart's left ventricle and restores blood flow throughout the body, improving organ function and enabling you to breathe easier. After receiving an LVAD, patients generally feel more energetic and are able to resume many of their normal activities.

Heart failure patients are often very limited in their activity and very short of breath. An LVAD can turn that around completely.

What is an LVAD?

An LVAD is a mechanical pump we can surgically attach to your heart. It consists of several parts:

  • Blood pump: surgically implanted in the body and attached to the heart
  • Driveline cable: extends from the pump out through the skin, connecting the pump to the controller
  • Controller: regulates power and monitors the LVAD's performance
  • Power pack: provides power to the device through batteries or electricity

You'll carry the controller and power pack outside your body in a specially designed carrying case that allows easy movement with the LVAD equipment.

Having LVAD surgery at Edward-Elmhurst Health

Implanting the LVAD involves open-heart surgery that can take 3 - 6 hours. The recovery period varies, and patients typically stay in the hospital anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks after the surgery.

To implant the LVAD, your surgeon will make an incision in your breastbone (sternum) to access your heart. Your heart will be connected to a heart-lung machine, which temporarily takes over the pumping and breathing functions while we conduct the surgery.

Then, we will place the LVAD pumps and driveline cable. The driveline will come out of your body through an incision in your abdomen. Once all the LVAD components are connected, we will gradually transfer your heart's function from the blood-lung machine to the LVAD.

Am I a good candidate for an LVAD?

An LVAD may be a good choice for you if you can't have a heart transplant for one or more of these reasons:

  • Obesity
  • Other cardiac conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension
  • Other diseases and health issues, such as diabetes, renal failure, or a recent cancer diagnosis

Ready to learn more about the LVAD device?

Ask your doctor for a referral to our Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center at the Heart Hospital of Edward-Elmhurst Health. We'll work with you to determine if the LVAD is a good treatment option for your advanced heart failure.

For more information, call 630-527-3730.

Fill out our online form to request more information