Main content

    Health Information

    Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

    Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

    Picture of a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD)

    A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a heart pump, is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body.

    This picture shows one type of a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD). This device pulls blood from the left ventricle and pumps it to the aorta and the rest of the body. Other types of VADs pull blood from the right ventricle or both ventricles and pump it to the rest of the body. The heart still pumps some blood on its own. But the VAD helps the heart pump blood better.

    A VAD can be implanted inside the body or worn outside the body. If it is implanted, surgery is done to place it in the chest area. The pump part of the VAD is placed in a small space in your upper abdomen. After the VAD has been implanted, your doctor will make another small incision in your side to connect the electrical wires that power the device.

    The pump part of a VAD can be implanted, but the VAD battery and control system are worn outside the body. The battery pack and control system can be worn on a shoulder strap and belt.

    By Healthwise Staff
    Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
    Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
    Last Revised September 12, 2012

    Last Revised: September 12, 2012

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.