Ventricular assist devices
Duke’s heart failure team is rated high performing in the U.S. for implanting ventricular assist devices (VAD), with survival rates that exceed the national average. Surgeons in our nationally ranked heart center implant and maintain the most advanced heart pumps available. Our experience gives you more options for symptom relief, increases your heart function, and improves your quality of life.
Heart pumps improve heart function
If heart failure has weakened your heart, you may be a candidate for a ventricular assist device (VAD). This mechanical heart pump can support your heart and optimize your blood flow after heart attack or heart surgery, or while you’re waiting for a heart transplant. It can also be a long-term solution if you have heart failure and are not a candidate for a heart transplant. Today’s smaller, portable, more reliable heart pumps make VADs an option for more people.
Our specialists are among the most experienced in the nation, and have the knowledge to determine which device is right for you. We were one of the first centers in the Southeast to offer the left ventricular assist device as a destination therapy to patients who are not eligible for heart transplant, and also as a temporary bridge alternative for patients awaiting a transplant. If you require advanced heart failure treatment, we can evaluate your condition and recommend the best approach for you. Plus, we continue to advance device technology through our clinical trials.
Choose Duke Heart Center for your heart pump implant because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center 5th in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform, and the quality of our support services.
- Access to novel heart pumps sooner. We offer access to the next generation of smaller, more efficient ventricular assist devices before they are available elsewhere. This includes the first temporary ventricular assist device to be implanted in the right side of the heart, and the newest device, the HeartWare, which is currently being evaluated as a destination therapy.
- Leading expertise. As leaders in the field, we help set the standard of care nationwide by sharing our expertise with surgeons and medical teams across the U.S. We are one of only eight centers nationwide to offer FDA-mandated training for the HeartMate II heart pump, the only device currently approved as a destination therapy.
- Long-term management of implanted heart pumps. We are committed to ensuring your ventricular assist device functions optimally now and in the future, as well as providing the resources you need to achieve optimal heart function. At our heart failure clinic, you’ll have access to experienced heart failure, electrophysiology and echocardiography specialists who are trained to recognize and correct issues that arise. You will also work with cardiologists, nurses and support staff who are experienced in helping you manage the day-to-day challenges of living with a heart pump.
VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICES
Every patient considered for a heart pump undergoes an in-depth evaluation, conducted by a team of specialists trained to care for people with these mechanical circulatory support devices. A cardiologist, surgeon and VAD coordinator work together to determine whether a heart pump is the best treatment option based on the severity of your condition, and which device is best suited for your needs.
Images may be obtained through cardiac catheterization, which uses catheters guided into the heart and contrast dye to assess pumping capacity. Images may also be acquired via echocardiography, which uses ultrasound to provide images of the moving heart, and a chest X-ray. Experienced and trained experts will evaluate your imaging scans and test results to determine if you are a candidate for VAD implantation.
You are the most important member of your care team, and we are committed to ensuring you have the information you need to understand every aspect of treatment, as well as life after VAD implantation. Every step of the way, our team of experts is available 24/7 to answer your questions and offer hands-on support to you and your designated caregivers.
VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICES
Surgery and follow up
Your surgical team cares for more heart failure patients than any other team in North Carolina, and is among the most skilled VAD teams in the nation. That expertise extends to the physicians and support staff who monitor you through recovery. They are specially trained to care for patients with ventricular assist devices, can quickly identify and respond to issues that arise, and take a hands-on approach to helping you adjust to life with a ventricular assist device.
We take every precaution to ensure you and your caregivers know how to manage your VAD prior to returning home. You will be required to spend the last night of your recovery period in a nearby hotel, where you will be monitored by our team and then counseled in best practices as needed before being released. This gives you added confidence as you begin your life with a ventricular assist device.
Your care continues as long as you have your device. You have access to an entire team of heart failure specialists and support staff who are available any time of day to address your concerns. If you live far from the Triangle, we will work closely with your referring physician to provide continuous care. Some clinic locations also offer follow-up care with your Duke specialist through telemedicine technology, so you have remote access when you need it.