Tacoma General Hospital

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Advanced Surgeries

Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs)

Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) are mechanical pumps designed to take over the function of the heart, and are utilized when the heart is too weak to pump blood sufficiently in the critically ill patient.

The duration of this support, or ”bridge”, is specific to the unique circumstances of each patient. They are typically used for those awaiting a donor heart, “bridge to transplantation”, or those who need temporary support until they can recuperate from a damaging heart attack, “bridge to recovery”.

While these advanced therapies have been available at MultiCare for several years, we continue to be a leader when it comes to new techniques. MultiCare has assembled a team of experts to develop a new program to offer VADs as a long-term alternative for people with severe heart failure who may not be candidates for a heart transplant. For these patients, VADs may help them live longer, better lives. This, currently, is a program that only a few sophisticated medical centers can provide.

MultiCare's program is the only non-transplant center west of the Mississippi that can offer destination VAD therapy.

Video Description

Dennis Nichols, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon, explains how a ventricular assist device works to effectively "take over" the functions of the heart.