Considering a VAD
Weighing the Options for Advanced Heart Failure Therapy
Treatment for advanced heart failure patients involves many options. In the earlier stages, many effective drugs are available for treatment. However, in advanced heart failure, these drugs may not be enough. Other treatments include cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) which adjusts the electrical rhythms in the heart to make it pump more efficiently, and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) which monitor heart rhythms and delivers shocks if dangerous rhythms are detected.
Some patients with advanced heart failure are candidates for a heart transplant, which can dramatically improve survival and quality of life. Unfortunately, donor hearts are not always available. In fact, a patient may wait years before a suitable donor heart is found. While waiting, the condition of the heart may continue to worsen.
Mechanical circulatory support, or MCS, is a way to improve the circulation of blood throughout the body with a heart pump called a ventricular assist device (VAD). Many patients, and the doctors who care for them, can share their perspectives about VAD therapy.
Advanced heart failure is a serious medical condition. But with all the treatment options available, the outlook for patients is more encouraging than ever before.