Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
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Heart failure is a condition in which your heart is unable to keep up with effectively pumping blood through your body. Your heart muscle can become worn out from inadequate blood supply, a large heart attack, congenital heart disease, inflammation of the heart, and even without an easily identified cause in some cases. Most people with congestive heart failure are effectively treated with medicine. When medical therapy is not enough to support adequate blood flow, an artificial blood pump, or LVAD, can be an effective option for many people. At Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, we have experience with even the most complex heart issues.
Congestive heart failure may cause you to suffer from shortness of breath, swelling or fluid retention, and severe fatigue. These symptoms can slowly progress over time, though sometimes you may notice a relatively rapid onset.
An evaluation by a cardiologist who specializes in treating heart failure, may find that medications are very effective in reversing your symptoms. But if you have worsening symptoms, despite these treatments, your cardiologist may ask you to consider treatment with an artificial heart pump.
Your history of congestive heart failure would most commonly call for an evaluation that includes an echocardiogram, or heart ultrasound, a heart catheterization to look for blockages in your arteries that feed your heart and to measure the blood pressure within your heart, and at times a cardiac MRI. These studies are undertaken to determine how badly your heart is damaged, and to be sure that there are no other problems that could be corrected with a stent or open-heart surgery.
If your cardiologist determines you have worsening heart failure without other potential solutions, you may be referred for consideration for surgical implant of an LVAD to support your heart.
Your Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute team will develop an individualized care plan for you.