Ventricular assist device (VAD)

Location of pump, battery packs, and controller, with detail of LVAD pumping blood from the heart

A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a heart pump, is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body.

This picture shows one type of a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD). This device pulls blood from the left ventricle and pumps it to the aorta and the rest of the body. Other types of VADs pull blood from the right ventricle or both ventricles and pump it to the rest of the body. The heart still pumps some blood on its own. But the VAD helps the heart pump blood better.

A VAD can be implanted inside the body or worn outside the body. If it is implanted, surgery is done to place it in the chest area. The pump part of the VAD is placed in a small space in your upper abdomen. After the VAD has been implanted, your doctor will make another small incision in your side to connect the electrical wires that power the device.

The pump part of a VAD can be implanted, but the VAD battery and control system are worn outside the body. The battery pack and control system can be worn on a shoulder strap and belt.

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery

Current as ofJune 30, 2016

Current as of: June 30, 2016

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery