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Ventricular Assist Device Program

If you have advanced heart failure (a weakened heart), you may be a candidate for a ventricular assist device (VAD). UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA, offers VAD therapy, a lifesaving mechanical circulatory support system for those whose heart muscle can no longer pump blood effectively through the body. This technology may extend and improve your quality of life.

Our multidisciplinary team consists of heart failure cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurse practitioners, social workers and other specialists who work together to deliver the best possible outcome for you. 

What Is a Ventricular Assist Device?

A VAD assists the pumping ability of your weakened heart. During surgery, a small pump is implanted in your chest to help blood move through your body. Once the device is implanted, a small cable exits through the skin and connects (at all times) to an external controller and two power sources: a battery pack and/or an electrical source. A VAD can function for many years.

When Is a Ventricular Assist Device Used?

VADs can be beneficial in several situations:

  • Bridge to transplant – The device supports advanced heart failure patients who are waiting for a heart transplant, but are too sick to wait for a donor heart to become available.
  • Destination therapy – The device supports end-stage heart failure patients who aren’t getting better with medications or other treatments, but aren’t candidates for heart transplantation.
  • Bridge to recovery – The device provides temporary support for patients with heart failure symptoms related to reversible conditions.

Heart Failure Services/VAD Patient Story: Lancaster Man Gets New Lease on Life

If you or your family member have advanced heart failure, speak with your primary care physician or cardiologist about the VAD program at UMass Memorial.

Learn about heart failure in this Health Watch segment with Jeffery Shih, MD, cardiovascular medicine.

Leora Balsam, MD, cardiac surgery, explains how a VAD helps those with heart failure.



Recognized with The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for our program.

Joint Commission Gold Seal