Ventricular assist devices (VADs)

Heart failure is a chronic (ongoing) condition that causes the heart to not pump enough blood. It can seriously affect the quality of life for you or a loved one. Our heart experts are dedicated to helping our patients live better, healthier lives.

VAD, or ventricular assist device, implantation can help your heart function and help you feel better. VADs help your heart adequately pump blood, delivering much-needed oxygen to your cells and vital organs. VADs can be implanted in patients who are not eligible for heart transplant, in addition to those awaiting transplant. In both cases, these devices have been proven to help patients with heart failure feel better and live longer.

In addition to compassionate and life-long care, our team brings experience, expertise and excellence to each patient who is part of our heart family.

  • Experience. UF Health performed the first heart transplant, the first pediatric heart transplant and implanted the first artificial heart in the state of Florida. Several of our team members have more than 20 years’ experience caring for patients just like you.
  • Expertise. UF Health is a proud leader in the field of mechanical circulatory support and VADs, and a national leader in VAD quality. Our one-year VAD survival rate is 90.7 percent, compared to 82.4 percent nationally, according to the INTERMACS Registry. We also offer stem cell therapy, a promising new treatment for heart patients, and are actively involved in research studies that advance cardiac care for the future.
  • Excellence. We take great pride in our VADs program for heart failure patients. Our program is designated a Blue Distinction Center of Excellence by Florida Blue. The program is also certified by the Joint Commission.

Hear from our patients

Meet Gail Morrell
Meet Gail Morrell

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What to expect during VAD surgery

VAD implantation is an open-heart surgery that takes approximately four to six hours. You receive general anesthesia, so you are asleep during the procedure.

The surgeon starts by making an incision in the center of your chest, cutting through your breastbone. They will then place the VAD into the sac around the heart. There will be a small cable connecting the pump to a battery pack and control unit outside your body. The VAD (mechanical pump) will help your heart circulate blood normally.

After surgery, you will stay in the hospital intensive care unit for a few days. When you are stable, you will move to a hospital room for the remainder of your stay. On average, the in-hospital recovery is between two and three weeks. You and your family or caregivers will be comfortable during this time with our private rooms with family facilities so your loved ones can be with you. Some patients require a short stay at a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital. Most patients are able to get back to their normal lives when they return home.

Care for life from our VAD team

Education is key for patients who have VADs and heart failure. Our team is committed to you and your care for life. We work diligently to educate you and your family or caregivers so you can make better life choices that will keep you healthy and properly maintain your VAD. If you have questions, you can call our 24-hour coordinator for advice and direction.

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Innovative Research

We are at the forefront of stem cell therapy research. While other research has focused on the effectiveness of either heart or bone marrow stem cells, UF Health is one of the first in the world to combine these two cell types together in patients. Learn about our innovative clinical trials in stem cell therapy.

To learn more about VADs and heart failure or to schedule an initial visit with one of our experts at 352.265.0751