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  1. Litton, Kimberley A. MS, RN, CS, CES


Many people throughout the world are living with heart disease and advanced heart failure. They may be in need of a heart transplant, but because of the limited amount of donor hearts available, other options need to be available. Because of the advancement of technology, there are now other options, and one option available would be a mechanical circulatory and cardiac support device. Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have been developed over the past 30 years. From larger, earlier pulsatile devices to smaller, hand-held, newer axial flow or rotary pump devices, VADs are implanted cardiac assist devices. They are implanted to provide cardiac support and can be used temporarily as a bridge to transplant (for those awaiting a heart transplant) or implanted permanently, which is known as destination therapy. With the changes in the size of device, decrease in the size of drive line, increased length of battery life, as well as length of device life, thousands of people now have these implanted VAD devices and are living quality lives and functioning at high levels. Currently, there are 3 generations of the left ventricular assist devices being used throughout the world. Five of the most well-known type of left ventricular assist devices are discussed in this article.