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Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) for Effective Treatment of Heart Failure

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition that comes in existence when heart fails to perform its blood pumping function properly. Severe pain in chest, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, swelling in feet or ankles, irregular heartbeat pattern and persistent cough are some of the most prominent warning signs associated with heart failure. It may prove fatal if not treated on time. Therefore, patients with a weakened heart condition must consult well-qualified cardiac surgeons at the earliest.

Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) for Effective Treatment of Heart Failure

What is Ventricular Assist Device?

Also referred to as ‘mechanical circulatory support devices’, ventricular assist devices (VAD) are medical instruments that are used for improving functioning of heart. These devices pump blood from ventricles and significantly improve the flow of blood through patient’s heart. 

Types of Ventricular Assist Devices

The given list elaborates three major types of ventricular assist devices. Depending on severity of patient’s heart condition and their requirements, cardiac surgeons may choose any of these devices for treatment.

  1. Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) – VAD that supports in normal regulation of bottom left chamber of heart is known as left ventricular assist device. It is one of the most widely used types of VAD.
  2. Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) – Right ventricular assist device helps right ventricle to pump blood in a normal manner.
  3. Biventricular Assist Device (BIVAD) – BIVAD refers to a medical device that can be used when both left as well as right ventricles of patients become weak and fail to pump blood efficiently.

All the above-mentioned ventricular assist devices have the following two basic designs.

  • Transcutaneous Ventricular Assist DevicesThese devices are mainly used for providing short-term support to patient’s heart. Transcutaneous ventricular assist devices consist of an external mechanical pump which is connected to patient’s heart via thin tubes. Doctors make small incisions in patient’s abdomen and insert these tubes for accessing patient’s heart.
  • Implantable Ventricular Assist DevicesAs the name itself indicates implantable ventricular assist devices can be connected directly to patient’s heart region. Such devices are mostly used when patients struggling with severe heart failure condition cannot undergo a heart transplant surgery. 

Good Candidates for VAD Implant Surgery

Patients belonging to the given category are considered to be good candidates for undergoing a VAD implant surgery.

  • Waiting for Heart Transplantation – Sometimes, donors are not available for patients seeking a heart transplant surgery. VAD implantation can be performed for such patients who are waiting for their heart transplantation procedure. It will help them in staying healthy until donors are available. In clinical terms, this situation as ‘bridge to transplant’.
  • Severe Medical Conditions – Patients who are extremely weak and have additional chronic medical conditions along with heart disorders may opt for VAD implant. It will definitely help in improving their health status. When VAD implant surgery is performed due to such problems, it is called as ‘bridge to candidacy’.
  • Temporary Assistance – In certain cases, when patient’s heart fails to pump an adequate amount of blood due to temporary weakness, doctors may recommend VAD implantation for a particular time interval. It is called as ‘bridge to recovery’.
  • When Heart Transplant is Risky – VAD implantation can be a good alternative for patients suffering from serious heart failure condition who are not eligible for undergoing a heart transplant. Under such circumstances, cardiac surgeons call it as ‘destination therapy’. 

Preparing for VAD Implant Surgery

Respective cardiac surgeons may ask patients to follow the given set of instructions. It will considerably raise the chances of successful outcomes after completion of their VAD implant surgery.

  • Medications – Doctors may ask patients to consume certain medicines that can help them in keeping their hearts healthy. They may also ask them to discontinue several medicines temporarily that they might be taking for some other illness.
  • Healthy Foods – Respective cardiac surgeons may recommend the intake of healthy foods to patients. They may give them a special diet plan for ensuring their good health.
  • Imaging Tests – Patients may have to undergo certain imaging tests like chest x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT scans) before their VAD implant surgery. These tests will help cardiac surgeons to understand the precise heart condition of patients.
  • Blood Tests – Doctors may also advise some blood tests for figuring out patient’s overall health.
  • General Instructions Before Surgery – Doctors may ask patients not to eat or drink anything prior to 10 hours of the VAD implant surgery. They may also ask them to wear clean and loose-fitting clothes before the operation. Patients must follow each and every guideline carefully for attaining best results. 

Ventricular Assist Device Implant Procedure

Ventricular assist device implant procedure is an open-heart surgery that can be easily performed within four hours. The given points describe the steps of VAD implant surgery.

  • Anesthesia – General anesthesia is used during the VAD implant procedure. It will help patients to stay relaxed and asleep throughout the surgery.
  • Ventilator – A machine called as a ventilator is connected to patient’s throat for helping them breathe smoothly during the procedure.
  • Making Incisions – Respective cardiac surgeons will carefully make incisions in patient’s chest area in order to access their hearts.
  • Heart-Lung Bypass Machine – Doctors will provide essential sedatives and medicines to patients for stopping their heart temporarily. They will use a heart-lung bypass machine for replicating the functioning of their heart.
  • Implantation of VAD – Doctors will insert thin cables or tube-like structures in patient’s ventricles which are attached to external pump machines. It will help in normal pumping action of ventricles. Type of VAD will depend on patient’s requirement.
  • Closing Incisions – Once, VAD implantation is done, surgeons will close the incisions carefully and take off heart-lung bypass device. This step marks completion of VAD implant surgery.

Patients may be monitored for several hours in intensive care room after their surgery. 

Risks and Complications Associated with VAD Implant Surgery

The following list describes some major risks and complications associated with VAD implant surgery.

  • Infections – Patients may get an infection around site of incision. They must take prescribed antibiotics in order to minimize such risks.
  • Breathing Complications – In rare cases, patients may encounter breathing issues following their VAD implant surgery.
  • Severe Bleeding – Severe bleeding may occur after completion of VAD implant operation. Patients should stay careful and contact cardiac surgeons right away on experiencing these difficulties.
  • Thrombosis – Ventricular assist device pump thrombosis is the most prominent complication which patients may have to face following their surgery. Thrombosis basically refers to clotting of blood. In such cases, an immediate medical assistance is necessary.
  • Device Malformation – VAD implant procedure may fail and eventually result in serious complications like heart failure or stroke. Left ventricular assist device heart failure is most commonly observed problem among patients.

Patients experiencing such issues must contact respective cardiac surgeons without any delay. Any negligence may lead to permanent disability or even death of patients.

Recovery following Ventricular Assist Device Implant Surgery

Patients may require staying at hospital for several weeks following their VAD surgery. They may feel weakness and pain at operated area. Respective cardiac surgeons may refer them to physical therapists for helping them restore their lost strength and range of motion of body. They may also advise them to take certain medicines to prevent any kind of post-surgical issues. Patients should eat well and exercise daily to aid a faster healing. Furthermore, they may have to undergo blood tests from time to time for ensuring good health condition. Most importantly, patients should dedicatedly listen to doctor’s guidelines and maintain a positive attitude for improving their quality of life. 

Avail High-Quality Ventricular Assist Device Surgery in India with IndianMedTrip

IndianMedTrip is one of the most reputed healthcare service providers across the world. Medical consultants at IndianMedTrip are closely associated with all leading accredited multi-specialty healthcare centers and experienced cardiac surgeons in India. They are renowned for providing best beneficial results following complex heart treatments and procedures such as implantable ventricular assist device surgery. IndianMedTrip offers free online medical consultation to overseas patients as well as provides assistance to them in availing medical visas in shortest time possible. They strive hard to bring positive changes in the life of each and every global patient. This is why they take care of patient’s needs throughout their medical journey. Not just this, medical experts at IndianMedTrip stay in touch with international patients during their postoperative phase as well for ensuring a smooth and successful recovery. Therefore, global patients looking for high-quality ventricular assist device surgery in India can rely on staunch services offered by IndianMedTrip.

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