Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

The left ventricle is the large, muscular chamber of the heart that pumps blood out to the body. A left ventricular assist device (LVAD), also called a heart pump, is an implanted mechanical device that helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that can't effectively work on its own. To learn about our current transplant clinical trials, click here.

Because there is no waiting period for an LVAD procedure, the device can serve one of four functions:

  • Bridge to transplant: buys time for the cardiac transplant candidate to wait for a suitable donor while providing the opportunity to gain strength and prevent or alleviate other side effects of severe cardiac failure
  • Destination therapy: improves quality of life for patients with end-stage heart failure who are not heart transplant candidates
  • Bridge to decision: buys time to determine whether a patient is a candidate for heart transplant
  • Bridge to recovery: allows natural cardiac function to improve by providing mechanical assistance

In 2011 Houston Methodist surgeons implanted 60 VADs—twice the number implanted just three years earlier.

Patients who meet any one of the following criteria are candidates for an LVAD:

  • NYHA III or IV
  • Multiple hospitalizations for heart failure
  • Inotrope dependence
  • Intractable arrhythmias
  • Intractable angina
  • EF<30%

Our LVAD program offers remarkable quality and more than 10 devices to meet unique patient needs. Your Houston Methodist team will work closely with you to select the right model and coordinate your implantation, so that you can return home to a safe and comfortable lifestyle.

Patient stories

Cloyd Powell received an LVAD device that helped this retired soldier bridge the gap until a donor heart became available.