Implantable Medical Devices

Updated:Oct 23,2014

Nurse And patientImplantable Medical Devices - 2 types

1. Rhythm control ICD -- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy is indicated before discharge in patients who develop sustained VT/VF more than 48 hours after STEMI, provided the arrhythmia is not due to transient or reversible ischemia, reinfarction, or metabolic abnormalities.

    Pacemaker -- Temporary pacing is indicated for symptomatic bradyarrhythmias unresponsive to medical treatment.

2. Support of the Circulation

Implantable Medical Devices

(Also known as LVAD)

What is a left ventricular assist device (LVAD)?

The left ventricle is the large, muscular chamber of the heart that pumps blood out to the body. A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a battery-operated, mechanical pump-type device that's surgically implanted. It helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that can't effectively work on its own.

These devices are available in most heart transplant centers.

When is an LVAD used?

This device is sometimes called a "bridge to transplant," but is now used in long-term therapy. People awaiting a heart transplant often must wait a long time before a suitable heart becomes available. During this wait, the patient's already-weakened heart may deteriorate and become unable to pump enough blood to sustain life. An LVAD can help a weak heart and "buy time" for the patient or eliminate the need for a heart transplant. Most recently, LVADs are being used longer-term as ‘destination therapy’ in end-stage heart failure patients when heart transplantation is not an option.

How does an LVAD work?

A common type of LVAD has a tube that pulls blood from the left ventricle into a pump. The pump then sends blood into the aorta (the large blood vessel leaving the left ventricle). This effectively helps the weakened ventricle. The pump is placed in the upper part of the abdomen. Another tube attached to the pump is brought out of the abdominal wall to the outside of the body and attached to the pump's battery and control system. LVADs are now portable and are often used for weeks to months. Patients with LVADs can be discharged from the hospital and have an acceptable quality of life while waiting for a donor heart to become available.

 
 




This content was last reviewed on 10/12/2012.


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