Implanting the HeartMate Left Ventricular Assist System
The operation to implant the HeartMate® XVE LVAS takes four to six hours. You will be under general anesthesia during surgery.
First, the surgeon makes an incision in the front of the chest, opens the breastbone and exposes the heart. Blood from the heart is redirected to a bypass machine. The bypass machine does the job of the heart and lungs during the operation.
Next, the surgeon places the main component of the LVAS - the implantable blood pump - in the upper left part of the abdomen near the heart. The pump is then connected to the heart's left ventricle and to the aorta (see Figure 1).
The pump also has a small tube, called a driveline. The driveline connects to a controller outside the body through a small incision in the abdomen (see Figure 2). The controller monitors the pump's operation and provides power to the pump from a battery pack or a power base unit.
When the pump is turned on, blood flows into it from the heart. The device then begins to pump blood to the aorta, which supplies blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. In this way, it takes over the work of the left ventricle.
After the pump starts functioning, the surgeon shuts down the heart-lung bypass machine. The breastbone and both incisions are then closed. Bandages are applied to the incision sites.