Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs)

We are pioneering the latest advances in ventricular assist device (VAD) technology. Our surgeons were the first to use a minimally invasive technique to implant a VAD. A VAD is a life-saving device that takes over the heart’s pumping ability, allowing patients to live long enough to receive a new heart.

VAD Program at the University of Maryland

Historically, the role of a VAD was to strengthen weakened hearts and act as a “bridge to transplant” for patients waiting for a new heart. In recent years, technology has evolved so that VADs can now be used to support a failing heart permanently or to give the heart a chance to heal and then be removed. Learn more about heart transplant.

At the University of Maryland, we have a robust VAD program. Features of our program include:

  • Wide variety of VADs: Heart failure patients at the University of Maryland have more choices when it comes to VADs, which allows us to treat a broader range of patients. We choose the VAD system that suits your individual needs.
  • Innovation: We were the first hospital to perform minimally invasive surgery to implant a VAD. Additionally, our researchers are designing a new VAD specifically for use in children.
  • Advanced support team: Our VAD team includes biomedical engineers who monitor devices remotely 24/7, providing around the clock support for our VAD patients. This is a unique level of support that is not available at many heart centers.
  • Research and clinical trials: Research is at the core of what we do at the University of Maryland Heart Center. Through clinical trials, our physicians have broken new ground in the development of drugs and treatments. Learn more about research and clinical trials at the University of Maryland.

Minimally Invasive VAD Surgery

Traditionally, VADs are implanted using an open heart procedure that involves a major chest incision. This surgery requires weeks of recuperation and can lead to scarring of the heart muscle. A minimally invasive procedure allows for:

  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter recovery time 
  • Less scarring, an important consideration for patients awaiting a heart transplant, since scar tissue can complicate the removal of the damaged heart

Our center is one of only a few in the country performing this minimally invasive VAD technique. While a minimally invasive surgery for VAD implantation is a more difficult and complex surgery than the open technique, we have the resources, skills and expertise to perform it successfully on the right patient. Meet our team.

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