Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

The Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Program at Mercy is committed to providing outstanding patient-centered care for people with advanced heart failure.  It includes a highly skilled team of surgeons, cardiologists, and LVAD coordinators from the Iowa Heart Center in addition to staff nurses, operating room personnel, rehabilitation specialists and many other professionals.

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump-type device that circulates blood throughout the body when the heart is too weak to pump blood adequately on its own. It is  sometimes called a “heart pump” or “VAD.”

It may be used to support advanced heart failure patients and improve their quality of life while they wait for a donor heart to become available. This is known as “bridge-to-transplant.” It may also be used as a permanent option for patients who are not eligible for heart transplantation, due to age or other medical conditions. Usage of the device in this manner is known as “destination therapy.”

The device is placed just below the diaphragm in the abdomen. It is attached to the left ventricle – the main pumping chamber of the heart, and the aorta – the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body. It takes over and restores blood flow throughout the body, enabling the patient to breathe more easily and feel less fatigued.

Mercy is the only hospital in central Iowa to offer this device. For more information LVAD, contact the VAD Coordinator at (515) 633-3770.