doctor tharakan
May 31, 2023

Who Should Get a Heartmate 3 LVAD Understanding Patient Candidacy

Have you been considering a Heartmate 3 LVAD implant to try to improve your quality of life? You're not alone. The device helps many individuals suffering from end-stage heart failure live longer, fuller lives.

But before you decide whether or not to get the implant, it's important to understand who is eligible and the long-term implications. In this article, I'll walk you through some important things to consider when deciding if Heartmate 3 LVAD is right for you. I'll go over candidacy, risk factors, and lifestyle changes that come along with the device.

Ultimately, you should always discuss your options with a qualified medical provider—this will help you make the best decision for your personal situation. But, if you're doing some initial research and want to understand more about Heartmate 3 LVAD candidacy, read on!

LVAD Therapy: An Overview of Left Ventricular Assist Devices

Have you ever heard of a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)? In a nutshell, it's a mechanical pump that helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It basically takes some of the workload off of your heart, and helps it recharge itself.

The HeartMate 3 is the latest innovation in LVAD therapy technology, and it's designed to keep up with patients’ active lifestyles. It's smaller than earlier models with improved long terms results. And because it has fewer parts to break down, the HeartMate 3 can provide power reliably over time.

But who is a good candidate for this kind of implant? Doctors look at several factors when deciding if someone’sa good candidate for LVAD therapy, such as the severity of their heart failure and their ability to handle follow-up treatments and care. Ultimately though, it's important for the patient to talk with their cardiologist about this decision—the cardiologist will be able to give them individualized advice based on their unique situation.

Candidates for Heartmate 3 LVAD Surgery: Who Qualifies?

If your heart is failing, your doctor may recommend a Heartmate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to help your heart pump. This device helps keep blood circulating in your body and can be an effective way to support your heart function while you await a heart transplant.

But who qualifies for a Heartmate 3 LVAD? The eligibility criteria includes having a diagnosed condition of advanced heart failure, having an estimated life expectancy of at least one year, and being able to make lifestyle changes associated with the device, such as taking medications and getting regular follow-ups. Other criteria include:

  • Having end-stage systolic heart failure, meaning the left ventricle can no longer pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the body's needs.
  • Not being able to restore quality of life with drug therapy or other treatments.
  • Having sufficient vessel size so that the LVAD's internal components can fit inside the coronary arteries.
  • Being healthy enough for open-heart surgery and 6-8 weeks of recovery time in the hospital after implantation.

If you have symptoms of advanced heart failure, talk to your doctor about whether you might qualify for the Heartmate 3 LVAD.

The Heartmate 3 LVAD: How It Works to Support Your Heart

So how does Heartmate 3 LVAD work? It's a small device that's implanted into your body and connected to the left ventricle of your heart. It sends oxygenated blood from your left ventricle into the aorta, which is the main artery that carries oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.

The device has two components: an external controller and an internal pump. The pump is about the size of a pear or a small grapefruit and is implanted in your chest. It sends blood throughout your circulatory system, while the external controller takes readings so that it can ensure proper functioning.

To keep the pump running, it needs power—butdon't worry! Instead of having to plug into an electrical socket like you might expect, Heartmate 3 LVAD gets power from lithium-ion batteries.

The best part? If you already have existing heart muscle damage, with Heartmate 3 LVAD you can expect improved quality of life—and in some cases, patients can even reduce their symptoms enough to be able to go back to living their normal lives!

Perioperative Care for LVAD Patients: What to Expect Before, During and After Surgery

Before surgery, there are several important factors to consider. Your doctor should assess your overall health, including your bone strength and nutritional health, to determine if you're a suitable candidate for LVAD surgery. You may also need to seek approval from your insurance provider to cover the costs of the procedure.

During surgery, some people may require a temporary support device while they wait for their LVAD system to be connected. The LVAD system itself can take several hours to install and test before everything is ready for discharge.

Post-operative Care: What to Expect

After surgery, you'll need close monitoring from doctors and other healthcare professionals as you recover from the procedure. Post-operative care typically includes:

  1. Diet adjustment, such as salt restriction and weight management
  2. Need for blood thinners and regular blood checks so the blood levels are well controlled.
  3. Systematic checks of fluid and power levels in the pump
  4. Regular imaging tests and ultrasounds
  5. Adjustments of the function of the components like the driveline and controller if needed
  6. Continuous education sessions with healthcare professionals about how to properly use and care for HeartMate 3 LVAD system
  7. Psychological counseling if needed

With close monitoring and diligent care, many recipients of an LVAD system have been able to lead full lives after surgery! As long as you take all necessary precautions during recovery and beyond, there's no reason not to be hopeful about your future with a HeartMate 3 LVAD system!

Post-Op Home Care and Follow Up for LVAD Patients

So who should get a HeartMate 3 LVAD, and what's involved for those who do?

First of all, it's important to know that post-op home care is vital for LVAD patients. After surgery, you'll be monitored through a combination of clinic visits and heart function tests. And during these visits and tests, your healthcare team will check the device, adjust settings if needed, manage any symptoms that may arise, and provide education to you and your caregivers on how to best care for yourself going forward.

What else? Well, you may also receive:

  • A prescription for antibiotics if needed
  • An anticoagulant or anti-clotting medication like warfarin to help prevent blood clots
  • An antiplatelet drug like aspirin or Plavix in addition to warfarin
  • Regular checkups with your healthcare team to monitor your health and make sure everything is running smoothly
  • Physical therapy as recommended by your doctor. This could involve strength training or aerobic conditioning exercises — things like walking or jogging that can help build endurance and your ability to do normal activities again.

Once you've received the device, it's essential that you stay as active as you can while following all of your doctor's instructions. Your healthcare team will work with you every step of the way after illness or surgery in your best interest to pay close attention to their advice!

FAQs: Common Questions About LVAD Surgery and Recovery

You might have questions about LVAD surgery and recovery, so here are some common FAQs.

What are the risks associated with LVAD surgery?

LVADs may have mechanical complications, such as bleeding, clotting, and device failure. Infection is also a risk associated with LVAD surgery. It's important to note that these complications are rare, but they can be serious. That's why the Heartmate 3 LVAD is designed to minimize those risks with features like infection-fighting components and enhanced patient safety.

How long is the recovery process after LVAD surgery?

Recovery time after an LVAD implant can vary from person to person. After implantation, most patients must stay in the hospital for 3-4 weeks before they can go home. During that time and in the months afterwards, your medical team will monitor your progress and adjust medications according to your needs. You should also expect physical therapy to get you back into shape.

What kind of lifestyle adjustments will I need to make after an LVAD implant?

After an LVAD implantation, you'll need to make lifestyle adjustments to ensure a successful recovery and good health. These include eating healthy foods as recommended by your doctor; avoiding contact sports; avoiding getting any type of infection; and drinking lots of fluids throughout the day so that you stay well hydrated.


Making the decision to have LVAD surgery is one that should be taken carefully and after consulting many medical professionals. Although there are risks, there are also many potential benefits, and you should weigh your options carefully before making a decision.

Overall, the Heartmate 3 LVAD is an excellent option for patients with heart failure. With its impressive design and proven efficacy, numerous patients have been able to enjoy a better quality of life

The Heartmate 3 LVAD allows patients and doctors to proactively monitor and adjust treatments before major issues arise. Make sure to remain in close communication with your medical team after surgery. They will likely want to see you regularly for checkups and adjustments in the beginning.

As you adjust to life with an LVAD, focus on building healthy habits and maintaining a positive outlook. Connect with other LVAD patients through online support groups for tips and encouragement. Over time, many patients are able to return to activities they enjoy, just at a lower intensity level that accommodates the LVAD. Listen to your body and push yourself gradually.

Keep up with routine self-care and stress management practices. Mental health plays an important role in recovery from any major medical procedure. Consider talking to a therapist if negative thoughts or anxiety become overwhelming. Aim to find joy in the little things and the progress you've already made on your health journey. You've gotten this far by being proactive and working closely with your doctors - those are strengths you can continue to rely on.

Still, it's important to remember that LVAD is not a cure for heart failure and post-operative care is essential to a successful treatment. If you believe that you may be a candidate for LVAD surgery, talk to your doctor to find out if this type of treatment is the right choice for you.