A ventricular assist device has three parts:
- A pump. The pump weighs 1 to 2 pounds. It is placed inside or outside of your belly.
- An electronic controller. The controller is like a small computer that controls how the pump works.
- Batteries. The batteries are carried outside your body. They are connected to the pump with a cable that goes into your belly
You will need general anesthesia when your VAD is implanted. This will make you unconscious and unable to feel pain during the procedure.
During surgery to implant the pump, the heart surgeon opens the middle of your chest with a surgical cut and then separates your breastbone. This allows the surgeon to reach your heart. Next, the surgeon will make space for the pump under your skin and tissue in the upper part of your belly wall. Then, the surgeon will place the pump in this space.
A tube will connect the pump to your heart. Another tube will connect the pump to your aorta or one of your other major arteries. Another tube will be passed through your skin to connect the pump to the controller and batteries.
The VAD will take blood from your left ventricle through the tube that leads to the pump. Then the device will pump the blood back out to one of your arteries and through your body.
Surgery usually lasts 4 to 6 hours.