Ventricular Assist Devices

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For information about heart-lung transplants, please call 310-825-6068.

Our physicians are highly skilled in all types of ventricular assist devices (VADs) to support patients with advanced heart failure.

Some VADs are used as a bridge to heart transplant - a way to keep very ill patients alive until a donor heart becomes available. Other devices are used as destination therapy, with no plans for transplantation.

Ventricular Assist Devices as Destination Therapy

Ventricular assist devices (VAD) were once viewed just as a bridge to transplantation.

But as VAD technology continues to improve, these devices increasingly are an attractive destination treatment for patients who are not eligible for a transplant. Even some patients on the transplant list find that a VAD improves their quality of life to the point that they don't want another surgery.

Our physicians help you choose the most appropriate option, providing care both before and after you receive a VAD.

Ventricular Assist Devices as a Bridge to Transplantation

Many patients continue to receive VADs as a bridge to transplantation, with the devices supporting the heart until a donor is found.

We are one of the first medical centers implanting the HeartMate II left ventricular assist device, which has been highly successful in supporting our patients' hearts. This device offers several benefits:

  • Less than one-third the size of previous pumps, this technologically advanced continuous flow pump is simple, silent, durable and easy to implant.
  • Patients are often discharged to the comfort of their homes within three weeks, with good quality of life until a suitable donor becomes available.

We are also the major tertiary center for advanced heart failure and end-stage heart disease in Southern California:

  • We care for numerous patients who require bi-ventricular mechanical support (in contrast to the more common left ventricular mechanical support).
  • Since 2000, our team has implanted more than 110 pneumatic BiVADs.
  • Recently, 80 percent of our VAD patients awaiting transplant have successfully received a transplant (the highest reported in the country). Our patients have a post-transplant one-year survival rate of nearly 90 percent.

Ventricular Assist Devices Available at UCLA

We offer a complete slate of ventricular assist devices to support adult and pediatric patients with a variety of care needs. These include:

  • HeartMate II (Thoratec)
  • PVAD/Bi-VAD (Thoratec)
  • CentriMag (Thoratec)
  • HVAD (Heartware)
  • Total Artificial Heart (SynCardia)
  • Berlin Heart (pediatric device manufactured by Berlin Heart)
  • TandemHeart (short-term support manufactured by CardiacAssist)

As part of our robust program to offer this life-extending therapy to patients with end-stage heart disease, we also:

  • Support referring physicians who wish to care for patients after they receive a VAD
  • Offer a peer support program for VAD patients

Learn more about living with VAD/artificial heart.