Former US Vice President, Dick Cheney is recuperating after his heart transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Va. Cheney’s heart had suffered 5 myocardial infarctions and was fitted with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in 2012. His condition had drastically improved after the insertion of the LVAD reports Fox News. The LVAD was keeping Cheney alive and other vital organs of the body like liver, brain, kidneys healthy, while he waited for his heart transplant. The pump has seen a surge in popularity post Cheney’s transplant and the fact that it kept him alive successfully for 20 months.
What is a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)?
VAD is a mechanical circulatory device that can be used to partially or completely replace the functions of a failing heart. They can be used for short term, while recovering from heart attacks or surgeries as well as long term, in patients suffering from congestive heart failure. The ventricular assist device is usually designed for right or left ventricle or for both (BiVAD). The LVAD is used when pulmonary arterial resistance is high.
Working: VAD takes blood from lower chamber of heart and pumps it to the rest of the body simulating the human heart. The VAD includes a tube that carries blood out of heart and into a pump, another tube that carries pumped blood to blood vessels. The pump is attached to a power source. The functions of VAD are monitored by a control unit.
The VADs are most commonly used to keep patients awaiting a heart transplant alive all the while allowing patient to enjoy good quality of life. However, they can be used as destination therapy wherever required. The LVAD has improved and evolved to such an extent that it can keep a heart patient alive indefinitely.
Dick Cheney had been waiting for 20 months for a heart donor. Though survival rate of heart transplant recipients over 65 is almost 84% in the first year, Cheney’s transplant has reignited the age debate where transplants of rare organs are concerned.
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