Ventricular Assist Device

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is an electromechanical circulatory device used to assist the function of a failing heart. The device takes blood from a lower chamber of the heart and helps pump it to the body and vital organs like a healthy heart. LVADs (or left VADs) are the most common type.

Ventricular assist devices are not artificial hearts; they are designed to assist heart functions, not take them over completely. The basic parts of a VAD include the pump, a tube that carries blood from the pump to your aorta, a drive line that exits from your abdomen and a power source. 

VADs may be used to support the work load of your heart, to see if your heart function recovers, to determine whether you are a candidate for heart transplant, to wait for a transplant or to improve your quality of life if you are not a candidate for transplant. 

The VAD program at Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center is quite comprehensive and offers several different devices (both temporary and permanent) to meet all of our patients’ needs. Our team will work diligently with you and your family to select the right model, train you and your family on how to live with a VAD (if a permanent device is needed) and coordinate your operation.

If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you may be a candidate for a VAD.
  • Diagnosed with heart failure that markedly or severely restricts your activity; you may have shortness of breath with only minor activity or even at rest.
  • Multiple hospitalizations for heart failure
  • Dependence on inotropic drugs – intravenous medications that help increase the contractility of your heart  
  • Lethal heart rhythms or angina
  • The amount of blood pumped from your heart with each beat is less than 30 percent

Learn more about what to expect before and after VAD surgery.

Patient Story
Perhaps the best way to learn about our highly trained transplant specialists at Houston Methodist is through our patients. We invite you to read this inspiring patient story and learn about the experience of being a transplant patient at Houston Methodist. 
  • Cloyd Powell talks about how a ventricular assist device helped him stay alive and active until he could undergo transplant surgery. 


Our physicians specialize in ventricular assist device (VAD) implants at the following locations: