Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition in which the heart’s pumping ability is weakened. The heart responds by enlarging its chambers or thickening its walls in an effort to get sufficient blood to the body, which further weakens the heart. This leads to water retention (edema), which typically builds up in the legs, ankles, feet, arms and lungs. CHF can be caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, damage to the heart muscle or other medical conditions that cause the heart to be overworked. If left untreated, CHF can lead to kidney failure and other dangerous complications.
Similar in size to a pacemaker and implanted in the body, a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) helps patients with end-stage CHF who are not able to receive a heart transplant. (If the patient will never receive a heart transplant, the LVAD is considered destination therapy.) The LVAD helps the left ventricle of the heart pump blood as it should.