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About VAD Therapy

Restoring Hope with Mechanical Circulatory Support

Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) uses blood pumps called ventricular assist devices (VADs) to improve blood flow. It assists the heart with pumping blood to the body. It does not replace the heart. Patients must have surgery to implant the device. For patients waiting for a heart transplant, a VAD may help them survive until a donor heart is found. This is known as Bridge-to-Transplantation. Some advanced heart failure patients may not be candidates for a transplant because of other diseases or age. The patients may benefit from long-term VAD support. This is called Destination Therapy. Occasionally, patients' hearts get better with a VAD. That's because the pump gives their heart a chance to "rest."

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Since VADS help move more oxygen-rich blood, VAD patients often have more energy than before. This means they can resume activities they enjoy, like shopping, gardening, and visiting family and friends. Many enjoy hobbies such as traveling, golfing, or playing a musical instrument.

Simply put, the story of MCS therapy is a very human story of restoring function to failing hearts, and of restoring hope to people's lives.

FAQs About Considering a VAD

Can a VAD keep me alive long enough to wait for a donor heart?

For certain patients, a VAD can be used as Bridge-to-Transplantation Therapy. That is, the VAD can help you regain the circulation of blood to improve physical conditioning while you wait for a heart transplant, improving long-term outcomes. Patients have been known to survive for more than two years with a VAD while waiting for a donor heart to become available.

Will my insurance company pay for my VAD?

Some VADs are approved for coverage by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, www.cms.hhs.gov) and many private insurance plans in certain facilities. Please contact your insurance provider for more specific coverage information, as policies may vary.

Next: About HeartMate II

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