Penn Heart and Vascular

Overview of the Ventricular-Assist Device Program

Innovative Cardiac Assist Devices for Bridge-to-Transplant, Bridge-to-Recovery and Destination Therapy

Penn is at the forefront of using and expanding the use of mechanical-assist devices for heart failure patients.

Cardiac Support Systems Bridge the Way to a Better Life

Cardiac-assist devices offer new hope to patients in heart failure when conventional medical and surgical therapies have been exhausted. There are many types – commonly referred to as ventricular assist devices (VADs) – to support the left and/or right ventricles (pumping chambers) of the heart.

VADs generally support patients with end-stage heart failure until they can have a heart transplant (known as bridge-to-transplant). In patients unable to have a heart transplant, VADs can be used to permanently support the failing heart (known as destination VADs). In addition, an emerging application for VADs is bridge-to-recovery for patients whose heart function improves as the device gives it the opportunity to rest and heal.

Matching Patients to the Right Device

Penn implant specialists are among the most experienced in the nation. They participate in multiple clinical trials of new state-of-the-art technology and exceed national averages for the number of procedures performed each year. Of all the patients who undergo heart transplant at Penn each year, 20 to 30 percent survive until surgery thanks to support by cardiac-assist devices. With this expertise, physicians are able to carefully assess which type of device is best for each patient. Assist devices available at Penn include (but are not limited to):

  • Temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) (Investigational)
  • HeartMate II® LVAD
  • HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System (Investigational)
  • Thoratec CentriMag® Blood Pumping System

A Dedicated Team Offers Expert, Personalized Care

The Penn cardiac-assist device team includes nationally known experts in:

  • Cardiac surgery
  • Heart failure
  • Transplant
  • Heart-assist device technology

Together, they represent tremendous depth and breadth of experience in VAD implantation.

Patients with mechanical assist implants are closely monitored through the Penn Heart & Vascular VAD Outpatient Clinic. Most are able to remain at home while they wait for a transplant or for their heart to heal. A team member is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency phone consultations or emergency outpatient clinic visits.

To Top

Upcoming Events