How long can i live with LVAD?


How Long Can You Live with LVAD? Or in other words, Survival Rate after an LVAD?  

In most cases, a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is used to keep a patient alive until a suitable heart donor can be found. With an LVAD, a patient can live for up to five and a half years. According to statistics, 80–85 percent of patients survive for a year after receiving an LVAD, and 70–75 percent survive for two years with an LVAD. Patients who do not have an LVAD usually have a life expectancy of 12 months or shorter. With better technology, the predicted survival rate for those who have an LVAD is improving. Some patients have lived for as long as 13 years. 

A Brief Explanation on LVAD:  

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump that is operated by batteries and is used in patients with end-stage heart failure. The LVAD is surgically implanted, and it assists the heart’s primary pumping chamber (left ventricle) in pumping blood to the rest of the body. Blood is pumped from the left ventricle (lower part of the heart) and pumped out the aorta, a blood vessel that transports blood from the heart to the rest of the body by LVAD. To put it another way, it aids a weakening heart. The pump is implanted in your body near your heart and is connected to a power source via a shielded electrical cable that goes outside of the body. LVADs can be used as: 

Bridge to Transplant Therapy: Patients who are waiting for a heart transplant can benefit from this life-saving treatment. The LVAD is used by patients until a heart becomes available. In certain cases, it is seen that the LVAD restores the failing heart to such a positive result that it can even eliminate the need for a transplant. 

Destination Therapy: Some people are not candidates for heart transplants and require other treatment. So, for these patients, they can undergo long-term care with an LVAD which can help them live longer and better lives. 

An LVAD allows a person whose heart has been weakened by heart disease to regain normal blood flow. This relieves symptoms such as exhaustion or shortness of breath, and in certain cases, it allows the heart to return to normal function by allowing it to rest. 

Who is a candidate for an LVAD? 

People with heart failure who meet specific standards are eligible for LVADs. In general, these are patients who have advanced heart failure and are classified as Class III or IV by the New York Heart Association. 

Classification by the New York Heart Association (Classes III and IV): 

CLASS III: Patients with heart illness who are unable to engage in strenuous physical activity are classified as Class III. They are only at ease when they are at rest. 

CLASS IV: Patients with cardiac disease who are unable to engage in any physical exercise without discomfort are classified as Class IV. Even when at rest, symptoms of heart failure or angina (chest discomfort) may be present. Any type of physical exercise raises the level of discomfort. 

Some patients with advanced heart failure who also have other diseases, such as renal failure, liver disease, lung disease, or blood clotting abnormalities, are not suited for LVADs. 

Life After the LVAD procedure 

You’ll be admitted to the intensive care unit after surgery to implant a VAD (ICU). Intravenous (IV) lines will be used to administer fluids, nutrients, and drugs. Urine will be drained from your bladder, and fluid and blood will be drained from your heart and chest through other tubes. Your medical team will keep an eye on you for signs of infection or other complications. 

Because your lungs may not function properly right after surgery, you may need to stay on a ventilator for a few days until you’re ready to breathe on your own. 

You’ll usually be moved to a regular hospital room after a few days in the ICU. The length of time you spend in the ICU and in the hospital depends on your health before the procedure and how quickly you recover once your LVAD is implanted. 

Your nurses and other members of your care team such as the very able Physiotherapists will assist you in becoming more active as you recover. They may assist you in sitting up, getting out of bed, and walking through the hospital corridors. You may also need to see a physical therapist to help you maintain your strength and become accustomed to completing regular activities. 

Your therapy team will assist you in gaining strength and preparing for your return home. They may be able to explain how to live with a LVAD and care for it once you return home, as well as answer your LVAD-related questions. Your treatment team may also discuss diet and cardiac rehabilitation strategies with you after you return home to help you recover. 

While you’re in the hospital, your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics and blood thinners to prevent infection. To prevent blood clots, you’ll need to continue taking blood-thinning medications like aspirin and warfarin while you have a LVAD. 

It’s critical to carefully follow the directions for taking these medications. To keep track of the effects of warfarin, you’ll need to get blood tests on a regular basis. If you have any questions regarding your prescriptions or if you have any side effects, go to your doctor and get them resolved immediately. You’ll also need to keep taking any medications you’re taking for other health aliments. 

While you’re recovering in the hospital, your medical team may encourage you to have visitors, such as family and friends. Visitors may be able to assist you with some physical tasks. Your family will be educated about many areas of your care by your nurses and treatment team, including how to care for and manage your VAD, how to check for signs of infection after surgery, how to change dressings, how to respond to VAD-related emergencies, and how they may help you at home. 


For the first month after your procedure, you’ll probably have weekly follow-up consultations with your doctor and other members of your treatment team to see how effectively your ventricular assist device (VAD) is performing and to monitor for complications. 

A physical examination, various tests, and an evaluation of the device’s function may be included in follow-up consultations. As you recover, you’ll require fewer follow-up visits. Appointments may be held in clinics staffed by medical professionals who are trained in the use of ventricular assist devices. 

Your doctor may also advise you to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialized exercise and education program designed to help you improve your health and recover from a heart attack, other types of heart disease, or heart surgery. Cardiac rehabilitation experts may be able to assist you in incorporating healthy lifestyle changes into your life, such as exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and stress management. 

Many of your normal life activities, such as returning to work, driving, being sexually active, participating in hobbies, and exercising, may be possible depending on your condition. Your doctor can advise you on what activities are best for you. 


It can be stressful to live with a VAD. You may be concerned that your VAD may fail or that you will become infected. If you’re a heart transplant candidate, you might be concerned that your VAD won’t last long enough for you to get a donor heart. If you’re stressed, concerned, or depressed, talk to your treatment team, family, and friends. It could be beneficial to talk about how you’re feeling. You might wish to talk to a professional counsellor or join a support group for persons who suffer VADs. 

While on the waiting list for a heart transplant, if you have a VAD implanted to help your heart pump blood, you’ll keep in frequent contact with your doctor and transplant center. In the event that a donor heart becomes available, you will most likely not be allowed to travel more than two hours from your hospital.  

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