Matching Patients to the Right Device

Penn implant specialists are among the most experienced in the nation. We participate in multiple clinical trials of new state-of-the-art technology and exceed national averages for the number of procedures performed each year. We offer different devices to each patient depending on his or her unique needs:

  • Bridge-to-transplant: Device used to support the heart until a donor heart becomes available.
  • Bridge-to-decision: Complex, critically ill patients who ultimately could be candidates for heart transplant, should they become healthy enough for surgery.
  • Destination therapy: Life-long support for the failing heart.
  • Bridge-to-recovery: Used to "rest" the heart over a period of weeks to months, and is then removed. Penn is one of the few teams worldwide that is using this technology to explore the possibility of recovery for end-stage heart failure.

We carefully assess which type of device is best for each patient. We are the only center in the region to offer all available VAD platforms to patients, ensuring that heart failure patients of nearly every age, size and gender will find suitable devices for their condition. The following list represents the VADs currently available at Penn Medicine:

Long-Term Device

  • HeartMate II® LVAD
  • HeartMate III LVAD*
  • HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System
  • Syncardia CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t)

*Investigational device

Short-Term Device

  • Levitronix® Centrimag® VAS
  • Impella
  • Tandem Heart

The advantages of the latest generation of VADs include a greatly decreased risk of infection, greater reliability and durability, and smaller sizes, which benefits smaller adults and children. The devices currently available at Penn are some of the world's most sophisticated VADs, and provide a glimpse of what the future holds for end-stage heart failure and heart transplantation patients.

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