#9 Left Ventricular Assist System (LVAS)

Overview

This is the first implanted ventricular assist device that senses when to increase or decrease the rate of blood flow. The device takes over most of the function of the left ventricle, and helps generate the force necessary to propel oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
 
This has been a commercial success and continues to give new hope for patients awaiting heart transplants. There have been several successful clinical trials and subsequent FDA approval for devices used as bridge-to-transplant. Several commercial models are now available from different manufacturers. New generation devices that minimize the biologic impact of support and that incorporate increasingly sophisticated responsiveness to the body's variable circulatory demands will continue to expand the utility of this revolutionary approach to end-stage heart failure.

Where Are They Now

This is the first implanted ventricular assist device that senses when to increase or decrease the rate of blood flow. The device takes over most of the function of the left ventricle, and helps generate the force necessary to propel oxygen rich blood throughout the body. This concept has become a commercial success with many trial successes. The role of LVAS as a bridge to transplantation for endstage, medically refractory heart failure has been well established.

As a potential extension of this therapy, the NIH has recently established funding for clinical investigation into the use of these devices as an alternative to medical management in less advanced cases of heart failure. These newer pumps are smaller and potentially more durable and longer lasting than the current generation of pumps. In 2015, the FDA released warnings to patients of adverse effects associated with these systems, including increased thrombosis and stroke risks. However, the FDA still believes the benefits outweigh the risks in patients which use of LVAS is approved. Time continues to improve on these systems, with updates and enhancements made nearly every year. The next generation of these technologies are receiving FDA approval.

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