Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

A Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) is a machine implanted to overcome heart failure due to various diseases or any severe illness. The VAD is placed inside the chest and the wires are connected to the heart during a ventricular assist device surgery. The different types of VADs include:

Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) – This is a left ventricle failure treatment that features a pump to help the weak heart pump blood from the left ventricle to the aorta (the main artery responsible for circulating oxygenated blood in the body).

Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) – This device is usually meant for a short-term use only and it supports the right ventricle to pump the blood effectively to the pulmonary artery. (arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lung)

Biventricular Assist Device (BIVAD) – If both the ventricles are facing trouble in functioning properly, both left and right devices are used to support the pumping of blood. An alternative to this treatment is the implantation of a Total Artificial Heart (TAH).

If you’re planning to visit India for a VAD implant, contact us today to get complete information about the same.

INDICATIONS
A VAD heart pump surgery is recommended by a cardiac surgeon when the patient is suffering from a severe heart disease that may be posing a threat to his/her life. A VAD may also be used during or after a surgery until your heart recovers, when you’re waiting for a heart transplant or if you’re not eligible for a transplant due to age or other medical conditions.

PRE-PROCEDURE
Patients will receive all the necessary information about using the device from their doctors. Since this is a heart surgery, a thorough checking is done to analyse the strength of the body. In case it lacks any nutrition, the patient is given the same using a feeding tube. Your surgeon will prescribe the following tests before your surgery:

  • Blood Tests
  • Chest X-Ray
  • EKG – To measure the electrical impulses of your heart
  • Echocardiography – Uses sound waves in order to create moving images of your heart

DURING PROCEDURE
A VAD surgery lasts for about 4 to 6 hours and is conducted under the influence of general anaesthesia. Read on to know what are the step by step procedures performed during the surgery:

  • The surgeon will make an incision in the centre of the chest and cut the breastbone to open the rib cage and expose the heart
  • This procedure using a heart-lung machine that does the work of the heart while it is stopped for the operation. The machine ensures that the blood flow is regulated throughout the body
  • The surgeon then attaches the ventricular assist device and checks if it is functioning properly
  • Once the procedure is completed and the result is positive, the incision is stitched up

POST PROCEDURE
The recovery period post a VAD operation largely depends on the patient’s health before the surgery. It may take about 2 weeks to get a discharge after this surgery. In case the patient is experiencing extensive weakness, he may be kept on a ventilator and feeding tubes for a few days after the operation. Generally, most hospitals in India offer physical therapy to help patients regain their lost body strength at the earliest. Though this surgery has its share of risks and complications, many patients have experienced a drastic improvement in their quality of life post the surgery. After regular follow-ups, the doctor will check your health and advise when you can resume exercise, traveling and other routine activities. Many patients are even allowed to drive once their heart heals properly.

RISK AND COMPLICATIONS
Every open heart surgery offers a considerable amount of risk and complications. However, patients must remember that a VAD is used in the case of severe heart problems or heart failure so it is a surgery that can rarely be avoided. Please speak to your surgeons beforehand to analyse all the risks in order to make an informed decision. Some of the complications include:

  • Blood clot formation
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection at the wound site
  • Improper functioning of the VAD
  • In rare cases, heart failure

MORE INFO
Since VAD cost is extremely high, it is a tough decision for most patients to choose this surgery. However, India is one of the countries where you will get high-quality treatment, warm care and trusted doctors at a comparatively lower cost. The approx. cost would be $6,500 – $ 11,000 and approx. duration will be 7-14 days. Currently, India imports the device from Germany and therefore, the cost is high. Soon, India will be the third country to manufacture LVADs after U.S. and Germany and it also the first country in Asia to do so. The cost of VADs is expected to fall to one-third of the current price. This will enable thousands of patients suffering from heart failure to opt for this procedure and save their lives.

A VAD surgery doesn’t require patients to wait for a heart transplant and the devices are functional for all blood groups, thus making this a better solution for whom heart transplant is not an option.

A few reputed hospitals in India offer a highly trained and experienced team of cardiac surgeons who can perform this state-of-the-art surgery with a high success rate. This procedure has been done for patients from 29 to 69 years of age in India. If you have any questions regarding the same, please contact us today!

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