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congestive heart failure, heart assist devices, ventricular assist devices



  1. Richards, Nancy M. MSN, RN, CCNS, CCRN
  2. Stahl, Mary A. MSN, RN, APRN, CCNS, CCRN


Ventricular assist devices (VADs) play an increasingly important role in the care of cardiovascular patients. Developed initially for support of cardiothoracic surgery patients experiencing difficulty in weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass, these devices have been used extensively as a bridge to cardiac transplantation for patients who are failing on medical management. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of a VAD as destination therapy, providing a permanent means of support for patients with advanced heart failure who are not eligible for heart transplantation. Applications for VADs are expanding and advances in technology occurring to support these new applications. This article provides an overview of current and emerging VADs and nursing management of the VAD patient.