Left Ventricular Assist Devices

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(608) 253-1690

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(608) 263-0439

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(608) 472- 0111


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Patient Stories

Left Ventricular Assist Device: Keith's Story

Video icon: Ventricular Assist Device Provides Bridge to Transplant Ventricular Assist Device Provides Bridge to Heart Transplant

Video icon: Ventricular Assist Device Provides Bridge to Transplant LVAD: A Bridge to a Better Quality-of-Life

UW Health heart transplant recipient Terry


Terry had an LVAD implanted and then a heart transplant: Read his story

UW Health is one of the national leaders in outcomes using left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) for patients with end-stage heart failure. Our team uses a broad spectrum of left ventricular assist devices, tailoring selection to meet each patient's individual needs.
What are left ventricular assist devices (LVAD)?

Left ventricular assist devices are implantable mechanical pumps. They assist the heart when it is not able to pump enough blood through the body. UW Health is one of only a handful of centers in the nation with approval to implant this device as an alternative to transplantation.


UW Health's LVAD program is certified by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). This further emphasizes our dedication to providing the most advanced treatment options for patients in Wisconsin and the Midwest. 

Destination Therapy and Bridge to Transplant
The majority of LVADs implanted as a bridge to transplant. The device is implanted while the patient is on the waiting list for a heart transplant. The primary VAD implanted at UW Health is the Thoratec HeartMate II LVAD. This VAD helps keep patients with end-stage heart failure alive while waiting for a transplant.
The HeartMate II LVAD can also be implanted as destination therapy for patients who are not candidates for heart transplantation, as well as for the less common, "bridge to recovery." 
About the Procedure
  • After placement, the device, rather than the left ventricle, pumps blood into the aorta
  • Implantation surgery takes four to six hours 
  • Patients typically leave the hospital within two weeks, and depending on their work, most return to their jobs within one to three months
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