LVAD: Advanced Treatment for Heart Failure

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​LVAD: Advanced treatment for heart failure

As Greater Cincinnati’s leader in cardiovascular care, The Christ Hospital Health Network never stops searching for options and solutions for patients with advanced heart failure. When medications and other treatments lose their effectiveness, a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) can take over the work of the heart.

Successful treatment with an LVAD can improve quality of life, and in some cases extend life, for candidates with advanced heart failure. It can also serve as a temporary solution for patients who are awaiting a heart transplant.

The Christ Hospital offers the most experience in the region with LVAD procedures. In fact, since our LVAD program launched in 2011, it has grown to become one of the largest LVAD centers in the nation. We are also a leader in pushing technology forward through innovation and research. With technology continually improving and device size progressively becoming smaller, patients are benefitting from better outcomes and shorter recovery times.

To learn more about our LVAD program, or to schedule an appointment with one of our heart failure experts, call 513-206-1180.

What is LVAD?

LVAD is a mechanical pump that's surgically implanted in the heart to help it pump more effectively and can be an effective treatment for advanced heart failure.

The LVAD pulls blood from the left ventricle and pumps it into the aorta (the large blood vessel that circulates blood to the body and the head). The heart still "beats" and moves in the chest, but the LVAD assists the heart in circulating blood to other vital organs.

What does the LVAD look like once it is implanted?

LVADM​ost LVADs rest close to the bottom of the heart inside the chest. A driveline (a power cord) exits out of the upper abdomen.

It is attached to the system controller, which is about the size of a large wallet, and is strapped around the waist. This system controller is powered either by batteries that fit in a holster supported by the shoulders or to a main power/charger box that is plugged into an electrical outlet at home.

The batteries help you to remain mobile and to carry on normal activities such as working or shopping for up to 12 hours. The main power box is used at home while sleeping and for device monitoring.

Who is eligible to receive a LVAD?

Currently, LVADs are implanted for three reasons in patients with heart failure who no longer respond to medications or have received the maximum benefit from medical/pacemaker therapies.​

  1. Bridge to transplant (BTT or short-term treatment) — to help support your life until a donor heart becomes available.

  2. Bridge to decision (BTD)—if you are recovering from heart surgery and/or your heart is seriously ill. The LVAD helps the heart recover from shock and is used until a decision is made to transplant or until the heart shows signs of recovery.

  3. Destination therapy (DT or long-term treatment) —if you do not qualify for a heart transplant because of other illnesses or age.

The Christ Hospital Health Network LVAD Program

The LVAD team at the accredited Carl H. & Edyth Lindner Heart Failure Treatment Center is the region’s leader in LVAD procedures. Our expertise and compliance with standards of care have helped us to earn The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval™​ for our Mechanical Heart Assist Device Program. We are also designated among the Anthem Centers of Medical Excellence for Ventricular Assist Device Programs.

Patients who receive LVAD treatment for heart failure at The Christ Hospital receive ongoing personalized comprehensive care and continued support. Our multidisciplinary team of experts all have specialized training in the care of LVAD patients and will see to your every need before and after surgery. The team consists of:

  • Cardiologists

  • Cardiac surgeons

  • LVAD/RN coordinators

  • Dieticians

  • Exercise and rehabilitation specialists

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Psychiatrists

  • Registered nurses

  • Social workers

  • Surgeons​

We also invite patients and their families who have had an LVAD implementation or who are considering one to attend our monthly LVAD support group where they can receive further support and information from patient and families who have extended experience with LVAD treatment. You can even join our private LVAD support group on Facebook​

What is the next step?

We welcome a conversation with you and your physicians about whether a LVAD may be right for you. Please contact the Advanced Heart Failure Program at 513-206-1180 for more information.

For current patients who need assistance, please call 513-585-4944.