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A ventricular assist device or LVAD is an electromechanical device for assisting cardiac circulation, which is used either to replace the function partially or completely in heart failure. LVAD is different from a Pacemaker as a VAD pumps blood whereas a pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the heart.
How and why it is done?
The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) pumps blood into the body. It is a battery-operated, mechanical device that is surgically implanted inside a person's chest, just below the heart. The LVAD doesn't replace the heart; instead, it helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that is too weak to work on its own. The device supports the main pumping chamber or left ventricle by moving blood to the rest of the body. Patients who receive an LVAD often experience less fatigue, more strength, better breathing, as well as longer survival.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you have a normal life with an LVAD?
After a LVAD, patients can perform most activities that patients without heart failure perform. They can bicycle, hike, and even return to work in some cases. They can shower, have sex, and travel, with minor accommodations. LVAD patients cannot swim, play contact sports, or be away from a source of electrical power.
Is a pacemaker an LVAD?
An LVAD and a pacemaker serve different purposes. While an LVAD helps the heart pump blood effectively, a pacemaker helps correct an irregular or slow heartbeat. It does not help with pumping, instead, a pacemaker generates electrical stimulation that regulates the heartbeat.