Ventricular Assist Devices (Pediatric)

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical pump that is placed into a poorly functioning heart to improve the circulation of blood through the body. A VAD is put in to help organs get better and to improve heart failure symptoms.

The Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is a destination for children and families with complex heart disease, with special expertise in the use of VADs for children with heart failure. Our experience in mechanical circulatory support extends from infants through young adulthood, and across the full range of pediatric heart conditions.

What is a VAD?

A VAD is an electrically powered pump designed to increase the amount of blood the heart is able to pump through the body. Most VADs are surgically implanted in the chest in the area around the heart, and connected to the ventricle that needs help pumping blood. 

VADs have revolutionized the treatment and management of heart failure.  Newer pumps are smaller and allow more children with heart failure to thrive even over extended periods of time. In many cases, children with VADs can be discharged from the hospital to thrive at home and participate in normal activities.

Why is a VAD used?

VADs can be used to support the heart as a patient recovers from surgery, as a bridge to support the child’s heart while they wait for a heart transplant, or as a long-term support for patients for whom heart transplantation is not the right option.

Michigan Medicine offers deep expertise managing VAD therapy for children with even the most complex forms of congenital heart disease.  Our heart failure teams have experience with multiple types of ventricular assist devices best suited to meet the needs of individual patients.

Types of VADs

Depending on the patient’s size and condition, our comprehensive VAD program has the expertise to implant a variety of different VADs including:

  • HeartWare HVAD
  • HeartMate 3
  • SynCardia Total Artificial Heart
  • Berlin Heart EXCOR
  • Abbott PediMag and CentriMag

Life with a VAD

The goal of VAD therapy is to not only sustain life but also improve the quality of life for our patients. Under the right circumstances, children can be discharged, live at home and participate in “normal” activities with their VAD. Your cardiology team will work closely with you to optimize life with a VAD outside the hospital.

Appointments & Information

To make an appointment with our VAD team, or to learn more about the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center, please call 734-764-5176.