A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump implanted in the chest that assists the left ventricle of the heart in pumping blood throughout the body.
This device is typically used as a bridge to heart transplant for individuals with advanced heart failure, or as destination therapy for those who are not eligible for heart transplantation.
LVADs have revolutionized the treatment of end-stage heart failure and have significantly improved the quality of life and survival rates for patients with this condition.
In this context, LVADs are a life-saving technology that has been widely adopted in the medical field over the past few decades. This article gives a brief introduction about the use of LAVD, its cost and life expectancy that comes with LVAD surgery.
Who needs LVAD?
A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is typically recommended for individuals with advanced heart failure who are at high risk of death due to heart failure and have exhausted other available treatments.
The LVAD serves as a mechanical pump that takes over the function of the left ventricle of the heart in pumping blood throughout the body.
This device is used as a bridge to heart transplantation for patients awaiting a donor heart, or as destination therapy for those who are not eligible for heart transplantation due to age or other medical reasons.
LVADs may also be used as a temporary support for patients experiencing acute heart failure or those recovering from heart surgery.
Patients with advanced heart failure typically experience symptoms such as
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- swelling in the legs and abdomen
LVADs can improve these symptoms by increasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart, thus improving organ function and overall quality of life.
The decision to implant an LVAD is made on a case-by-case basis, and factors such as age, overall health, and the severity of heart failure are taken into consideration.
How does an LVAD device work?
A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump that is surgically implanted in the chest to assist the left ventricle of the heart in pumping blood throughout the body. The device is typically connected to the left ventricle and the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
The LVAD consists of a pump that is powered by a small motor, which is connected to an external controller and power source. The controller is usually worn by the patient in a small backpack or shoulder bag, and it regulates the speed and function of the pump.
When the LVAD is activated, the pump pulls blood from the left ventricle into the device and then pumps it out into the aorta. This helps to improve blood flow and alleviate the symptoms of heart failure.
The device also has sensors that monitor blood flow and pressure, which allows the external controller to adjust the speed and function of the pump to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate amount of support.
LVADs can be used as a temporary support for patients recovering from heart surgery or experiencing acute heart failure, or as a long-term treatment for patients with end-stage heart failure who are not eligible for heart transplantation. The device can significantly improve the quality of life and survival rates of patients with advanced heart failure.
Cost of LVAD in India
Cost in India is a complex and multifaceted issue that affects millions of people across the country. With a population of over 1.3 billion and a wide range of socioeconomic conditions, cost is a significant challenge in India, particularly in terms of healthcare, education, and basic necessities like food and housing.
The cost of healthcare in India is a major concern, with many people unable to access necessary medical care due to financial constraints.
Inadequate health insurance coverage and high out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment mean that many people are forced to choose between receiving necessary care and financial stability.
Education is another area where cost is a significant issue. Despite government initiatives to increase access to education, many families still struggle to afford the cost of school fees and related expenses, especially in rural areas.
At the same time, necessities like food and housing are also a challenge for many in India, with rising prices and limited availability affecting the most vulnerable populations.
The cost of LVAD surgery and devices varies depending on several factors, such as the type of device used, the hospital where the procedure is performed, and the patient’s overall health. In India, the cost of LVAD surgery can range from 25-50 lakh rupees, depending on the hospital and the type of device used.
Despite the high cost, LVADs are becoming more widely available in India, and more patients are opting for this treatment option. However, access to LVADs is still limited in many parts of the country, particularly in rural areas, where healthcare infrastructure is inadequate, and the cost of treatment is a significant barrier.
Life expectancy After LVAD implant
A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) works as an artificial heart pump that can provide long-term support for patients with advanced heart failure. The life expectancy of an LVAD depends on three main factors, such as
- The patient’s age
- Overall health
- The type of device used
On average, the life expectancy for patients with an LVAD is around 5 years, with some patients living for more than a decade with the device.
The function of the device and the risk of complications such as infection or blood clots can impact the life expectancy of an LVAD. Regular follow-up with medical professionals is essential for patients with an LVAD to ensure optimal care and management of the device.
Close monitoring of the device’s function, medication management, and lifestyle changes can help to maximize the life expectancy of an LVAD and improve the overall quality of life for patients with advanced heart failure. With proper care and management, patients can expect to live for several years with the device and continue to lead fulfilling lives.
In conclusion, LVADs are a life-saving treatment option for patients with advanced heart failure. Despite the high cost and complexity of the procedure, LVAD surgery and devices have significantly improved the survival rates and quality of life for patients with this condition.
However, access to LVADs remains limited in many parts of the world, including India, where the cost of treatment is a significant barrier.
Efforts to improve access to affordable medical care and expand public awareness about heart disease prevention and treatment are essential to addressing this global health challenge.