Treatments & Procedures

At Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center, our goal is to better the outcomes for more people suffering from heart failure. Our culture of innovation in cardiovascular medicine and cardiothoracic and vascular surgery is rooted in the noble tradition of translational medicine practiced by cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, whose many innovations in cardiovascular surgery at Houston Methodist revolutionized patient care around the world. Our ventricular assist device (VAD) program offers improved quality of life for recipients with several different devices (both temporary and permanent) to meet our unique patient needs. 

Your journey toward VAD implantation begins with a thorough evaluation performed by our expert team; we will start with a series of tests and assessments to give us an accurate picture of the severity of your condition and your fitness for the procedure.

During your evaluation, you will also meet with a financial counselor to review insurance coverage and discuss the financial considerations associated with a VAD implant. A social worker will conduct a psychosocial evaluation to ensure that you and your family are emotionally prepared for the stress that often accompanies the process.

Before the Procedure
Prior to implantation, we encourage you and your caregivers to attend our education classes, and, with the help of the transplant team, understand how the VAD works, its safety precautions, how to care for yourself at home and how to provide care in case of an emergency. We will even arrange to have you talk with a person who has a VAD; you can listen as Cloyd Powell talks about his device and how it saved his life.

The Procedure
Before the VAD implantation, your anesthesiologist will talk with you and explain what will occur during the surgery. You will be given general anesthesia so you will be asleep and not feel anything.

The surgery usually takes between four and six hours. 

After the Procedure
When you wake after surgery, you will be in our intensive care unit. We will help you manage any pain you may experience after surgery. Most patients find their pain decreases within a day or two of surgery. Getting out of bed and walking may help reduce pain.

Your stay in the hospital may last between 10 and 20 days or as long as your team feels is necessary.

Going Home and Staying Healthy
You will continue your recovery at home; during the first eight weeks, your daily activities will have some limits, including not lifting anything more than 10 pounds. You may return to most normal activities within a few months.

Our team will continue to monitor your progress during recovery and beyond, so you must be available for clinic appointments, lab tests and other potential tests; this way, we can determine how well your heart is working with the VAD.


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