Information Regarding HeartWare™ LVAD

Medtronic is no longer making the HeartWare™ LVAD due to some health concerns. Please read the attached letter for specific information. Patient Information RE HeartWare LVAD

Ventricular Assist Device Types

All LVADs have three parts:

  1. a blood pump
  2. a computer, called a controller, and
  3. a power supply that remains outside of the body.

This equipment connects to the LVAD via a series of wires. The series of wires is called a driveline.

University of Utah Health’s Mechanical Circulatory Support Program uses the most advanced and reliable ventricular assist devices (VADs) available for patients . Features of each LVAD may be different depending on the manufacturer. Talk to your clinician about which LVAD might be right for you.

Note: An LVAD is a type of VAD. VADs can support the left ventricle (LVAD), the right ventricle (RVAD), or both (BiVAD). However, the LVAD is the only device that patients can leave the hospital with.

Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs) & Total Artificial Heart (TAH)

Each left ventricular assist device (LVAD) helps your failing heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. (Blood carries oxygen, which we need to live.)

Doctors attach LVADs surgically to the bottom of the left ventricle of your heart. The LVAD pump can draw blood through it and into the aorta.

Since the level of LVAD support each patient needs is different, our clinicians will program it to fit those needs.

 Axial Flow vs. Centrifugal Flow

Axial flow is a straight flow or parallel flow, whereas the HM3 and HW pumps are centrifugal or circular (radial and perpendicular) flow.

Total Artificial Heart (TAH)

Syncardia Total Artificial Heart

If both of the ventricles of your heart fail (left and right), a total artificial heart (TAH) is an option. We mainly use the Syncardia Total Artificial Heart for patients who are waiting for heart transplant. The TAH makes both ventricles and all four valves pump blood to the lungs and through the heart.

An external driver connects to the artificial heart by two tubes, called cannulae. The driver delivers pulses of air through the cannulae to inflate and deflate diaphragms in each ventricle. This action is what creates circulation from the TAH to the rest of the body.

If you have a TAH, you don’t have to remain in the hospital. You can return to daily life.

Other Temporary Mechanical Circulatory Support Therapies

Abiomed Impella

The is the world’s smallest heart pump. Currently the only percutaneous cardiac assist , (Percutaneous means that the doctors can insert the device through the skin.) Doctors implant an Impella through a transcatheter.

Specialists in the catheterization will insert the Impella devices into the left ventricle through the femoral artery into the ascending aorta, across the aortic valve, and into the left ventricle.

Different sizes of Impella can offer more or less support. Impella support is only temporary. You may have it only when we admit you to the hospital for a heart condition or symptoms.


The extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is not technically a VAD. It is, however, another form of mechanical circulatory support therapy if you have severe acute respiratory and/or cardiac .

If you have had treatment, but that treatment has not been successful, specialists will consider giving you ECMO therapy. Doctors might consider ECMO if you have had cardiac arrest or heart failure. In this case your heart cannot pump enough blood to your organs. Sometimes specialists use ECMO therapy after heart surgery if the patient needs it.

ECMO is a technically complex procedure. It allows us to fully support your breathing and heart functions while your organs recover and/or you wait for a longer-lasting device.

Rotaflow, CentriMag, and CardioHelp

Rotaflow, CentriMag, and CardioHelp are external continuous flow devices. This means they sit outside the body and help your body circulate blood so that your organs don’t shut down. You may receive this if you have acute heart and/or lung failure.

Though these continuous flow devices are temporary, they will help stabilize your organs until we can get you a more long-term therapy option.