Ventricular Assist Device Program for Heart Failure Patients

At the renowned Heart Failure Program, part of the Heart and Vascular Hospital at HackensackUMC, cardiovascular specialists take a multidisciplinary team approach to improve the quality of life for patients with advanced heart failure. Together, our cardiac team evaluates each individual patient and recommends the appropriate treatment solution. 
The Heart Failure Program provides a full range of services and is the only program in Bergen County to offer patients with chronic advanced heart failure, long term mechanical circulatory support with Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implants. 

About Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

Recent advances in cardiac treatment have proven to slow, and in some cases reverse, the advancement of heart failure, resulting in improved survival and quality of life. LVAD, one such advancement, is a mechanical pump that is surgically implanted to assist the failing left ventricle of the heart to pump blood out to the rest of the body. 

Candidates for LVAD

A LVAD is for patients with end-stage heart failure.  This means that the heart is not able to pump as much oxygen and nutrient-rich blood as the body requires. As a result, you can experience shortness of breath with exertion, chronic fatigue and retention of fluid in the body.  
Our cardiac team conducts a thorough medical evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for a LVAD. 
If you are waiting for a heart transplant, the LVAD is used as a “bridge.” When you receive a heart transplant, the LVAD is removed.  
If you have heart failure that can potentially be reversed, the LVAD is used to assist your heart while it recovers.  If successful, the LVAD can be removed.
If you are not a candidate for a transplant, the LVAD is used as a treatment to improve your quality of life and increase your longevity.  In this case the VAD remains in place for the rest of your life.  
The LVAD Program only offers devises that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Our cardiac surgeons have extensive experience implanting the HeartMateII® LVAD, for bridge and destination therapy or long-term support. It’s small and less invasive to implant than formerly approved devices, and is durable, portable and quiet.  You should be able to shower, travel, have sodium in your diet and live an active lifestyle. 
For more information, visit 

Surgical Proficiency

Our heart failure surgeons are specially trained and certified to implant the LVAD.  
The surgery involves implanting the device and connecting it to the left ventricle of the heart, and the aorta, the main artery that brings blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Through a small hole in the abdomen, a cable that powers the pump, exits the body and connects to a control unit and power pack on the outside of the body. The control unit and power pack need to be recharged nightly.  The surgery allows the LVAD to take over the pumping function of the left side of the heart.   

Rehabilitation and Recovery 

Following surgery our cardiac physicians will monitor you and when you are ready, you will begin physical therapy with our cardiac rehabilitation experts.

Our Top Specialists in LVAD

Robert L. Berkowitz, MD, PhD, FACC –Medical Director of The Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension Program; founder of The Heart Failure Program in 2000.
Bernard Kim, MD, Associate Medical Director of Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension Program
Kumar Satya, MD, MRCP, Heart Failure Cardiologist
Elie Elmann, MD, Cardiac Surgeon; VAD Surgeon

Patient Support 

The Heart Failure Program team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, magnet nurses, rehab specialists and social workers provide personalized care during all aspects of your stay for the LVAD implant procedure.  
Marites Welch, MA.Ed, BSN, RN, CCRN – Heart Failure Program Manager 
Nancy Elmann, MSN, CCRN, APN-C – VAD Coordinator Nurse Practitioner
Barbara Heber-Sardonopoli BSRN, MSN, APN-C – Heart Failure Nurse Practitioner
We offer a Support Group that patients find helpful in adjusting to life with a LVAD.
For more information on LVAD treatment, schedule a consultation with one of our Heart Failure physicians and VAD Coordinator by calling 551-996-4849
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