Currently there are about 6 million people in the U.S. who have congestive heart failure, and of the several hundred thousand patients in need of a heart transplant, only about 5,000 individuals receive them each year.
Due to the growing number of heart failure patients throughout the country, left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are now being used as an effective treatment method for not only patients waiting for heart transplants (bridge therapy), but also patients who have severe congestive heart failure, but do not qualify for a transplant for a variety of reasons (destination therapy).
An LVAD is a battery-powered implantable pump used to treat congestive heart failure patients. It helps an individual’s heart pump more blood and oxygen to the body, thus relieving the symptoms of congestive heart failure. With advanced pump technology, current LVADs are significantly more effective in treating heart failure than similar devices in the past.
Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center is the first community hospital in the state to begin surgically implanting LVADs. The exceptional team of cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, a nurse practitioner and other related medical providers at Cone Health’s dedicated advanced congestive heart failure clinic successfully implanted the first LVAD in the community this past May.
Once LVADs are implanted, each patient receives device care and management education, and long-term follow-up and monitoring by the heart failure clinic team to ensure the patient’s health is maintained and their quality of life is restored.
Dr. Peter Van Trigt is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Triad Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery and a member of the dedicated advanced congestive heart failure clinic team at Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center. Dr. Van Trigt earned his M.D. at Tulane University in 1977 and completed residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Duke University School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in cardiac transplantation at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and has more than 20 years of experience working with LVADs and similar pump therapies.