HeartMate 3 LVAD Therapy

A treatment for those with advanced heart failure

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Abbott’s LVAD FAQ page, where we have aggregated answers to some commonly asked questions about Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs) and the HeartMate 3 LVAD. If you or a loved one is facing advanced/severe heart failure and exploring treatment options, this resource aims to offer valuable insights into some of the most common questions about LVADs. For further information about LVADs, please visit About HeartMate 3 LVAD Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions about LVADs

What is an LVAD?

Answer: An LVAD, or Left Ventricular Assist Device, also sometimes known as a heart pump, is a heart failure device implanted in the left side of your heart to help pump blood to the rest of the body.


Who is a candidate for an LVAD?

Answer: If you or your loved one have advanced heart failure (NYHA Class IIIB or IV) and are not responding to medications or other treatments your doctor may recommend an LVAD to help your heart pump to improve blood flow by helping your heart pump.

How does an LVAD work?

Answer: For people with advanced heart failure, a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), also known sometimes as a heart pump, is connected to your heart and helps the pumping of blood from the left ventricle which is the primary pumping chamber. The LVAD then helps pump blood to the rest of your body, helping to relieve some of the symptoms of heart failure. Additional information on how an LVAD works can be found here: How the HeartMate 3 LVAD Works


Is an LVAD a permanent solution?

Answer: Short-term therapy can be used for patients who are awaiting a heart transplant, or as a bridge to recovery. Long-term therapy is when patients are not a heart transplant candidate due to age, weight, compliance, or it is their choice to have an LVAD over a transplant. LVADs are not a permanent solution but can effectively help patients long-term relieve symptoms of advanced heart failure while awaiting transplant or other therapy or as destination therapy for those who aren’t candidate for another treatment option, giving patients and their care team valuable time.


How long can a patient live with an LVAD?

Answer: There are many variables that affect how long a patient can live with an LVAD. It is common for LVAD patients to live several years with the device, depending on their health. If you are considering an LVAD your doctor will be able to explain the factors that will impact how long you can expect to have your LVAD.


Is an LVAD considered "life support"?

Answer: While not traditionally what patients think when they think of life support, an LVAD is in fact considered a form of life support because it is helping the heart pump blood when it's not working well enough on its own due to advanced heart failure. While it doesn't replace the heart entirely like some life support machines, it may be a life-saving treatment for people with severe symptoms.


Do you have a heartbeat with an LVAD?

Answer: Patients with an LVAD may not have a regular heart beat due to how an LVAD helps circulate blood throughout the body. Patients usually will feel a heartbeat, although it might be different from what you felt before the LVAD was implanted.


What are the risks associated with LVAD surgery?

Answer: LVAD surgery is considered a major surgery, and like all surgeries, there are risks, including bleeding, stroke, thrombosis, infection, and device-related complications. Your healthcare team will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.


Can I resume regular activities with an LVAD?

Answer: LVAD patients may return to a relatively normal life and usually the relief of symptoms often assists in allowing patients to enjoy activities that may have been previously discontinued due to advanced heart failure symptoms. However, some physical activities (may be limited due to the LVAD e.g. swimming), and you'll need to follow your doctor's advice for specific exercise and lifestyle recommendations.


What can I eat or are there diet restrictions with an LVAD?

Answer: For the most part, your LVAD will not drastically restrict your food options although sodium and fluid intake may need to be monitored. Based on your specific situation, if you have any other health conditions (e.g. diabetes) your diet may be restricted. Your doctor will discuss these with you prior to your procedure.


Can I travel with an LVAD?

Answer: Traveling with an LVAD is possible, but it requires advanced planning. You'll need to ensure you have enough power sources, backup equipment and a plan in place in case of emergencies. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare team well in advance of your trip. More detailed information on LVAD travel can be found here: Traveling with an LVAD


How can I prepare for my LVAD surgery?

Answer: Every patient’s journey will be different, but there are some typical steps in preparing for LVAD surgery for treatment of advanced heart failure. In preparation for your procedure there will likely be: medical evaluations, lifestyle adjustments, recovery planning and discussing the procedure risks and benefits with your healthcare team. A more detailed overview of the procedure can be found here: About the HeartMate 3 LVAD Procedure


Where can I find support for LVAD patients?

Answer: Many organizations offer support groups for LVAD patients and their families. These groups can provide valuable information and emotional support across the journey. Additionally, Abbott offers a patient ambassador program which connects patients considering an LVAD with those who have had the procedure. You may find out more about this program here: HeartMate Patient Ambassadors

Frequently Asked Questions about HeartMate3 LVAD

What is a HeartMate 3 LVAD?

Answer: A HeartMate 3 LVAD, or Left Ventricular Assist Device, is a mechanical pump that's surgically implanted in the chest to help patients with severe heart failure increase blood flow, thus decreasing the symptoms of heart failure. To learn more about HeartMate 3 LVAD, visit: About HeartMate 3 LVAD Therapy


Do you need surgery for HeartMate 3 LVAD?

Answer: Implanting a HeartMate 3 LVAD involves a surgical implantation procedure to place the device within the chest, connecting it to the heart's pumping chamber and the major blood vessels. For more information about the procedure, view information here: About the HeartMate 3 LVAD Procedure


Will insurance cover a HeartMate 3 LVAD?

Answer: Whether insurance covers a HeartMate 3 LVAD can vary depending on your insurance plan and your medical conditions. Prior to determining if a HeartMate 3 LVAD is right for you, your physician will work with you and your insurance company to determine what your coverage will be.


How much does HeartMate 3 LVAD cost?

Answer: The cost of a HeartMate 3 LVAD and surgical procedure is highly dependent on insurance coverage. Potential patients should inquire with their health insurance plan to determine what cost, if any, will be paid by the patient.


What stage of heart failure is a candidate for HeartMate 3 LVAD?

Answer: HeartMate 3 LVAD is considered for individuals in advanced stages of heart failure, where other treatments have not been effective. Patients are carefully evaluated to determine their suitability for this device by their physician.


Can a HeartMate 3 LVAD be removed?

Answer: A HeartMate 3 LVAD can be removed if a patient's heart recovers its function or if the device is no longer needed, such as after a heart transplant.


Can you travel with a HeartMate 3 LVAD?

Answer: Traveling with a HeartMate 3 LVAD is feasible but requires meticulous preparation, including checking with your healthcare provider, having the necessary equipment and power sources, and ensuring you can access medical care if needed while on the go.


Can HeartMate 3 LVAD be used in children?

Answer: For pediatric heart failure patients, the gold standard of care is receiving a heart transplant. While awaiting a donor heart to become available, a HeartMate 3 LVAD can be used to support their heart and provide the opportunity for increased activity while awaiting transplant.

MAT-2400467 v1.0