Ventricular Assist Device Program

Submit request or call to make an appointment.

Norton Audubon Hospital, winner of the Heart Care CenterTM: National Distinction of Excellence from the American Heart Association, is accredited for ventricular assist device implantation. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute is built on a legacy of innovation that includes the world’s second artificial heart transplant.

If medication is no longer controlling your heart failure symptoms, you may be eligible for mechanical circulatory support such as a ventricular assist device. The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists in the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Ventricular Assist Device Program implant the mechanical pump alongside the heart to help it pump blood more effectively.

Once used primarily as a temporary measure for those awaiting a heart transplant, ventricular assist devices have made many heart transplants unnecessary. The ventricular assist device now provides long-term support that helps patients go on with productive lives

Ventricular Assist Device Program Team

  • Your cardiovascular surgeon implants the ventricular assist device.
  • Your heart failure cardiologist provides care before and after the ventricular assist device placement.
  • Your highly trained perfusionists manage your ventricular assist device during and after your surgery.
  • Ventricular assist device coordinators answer your questions, help with education before implantation and work with the cardiologist to manage your care before and after surgery.
  • A social worker helps with patient and family support.
  • A financial coordinator works with you to coordinate insurance approvals and financial matters for the ventricular assist device and related medications.
  • The palliative care team provides support for long-term care decisions.

Read More

From heart failure to recovery: Medication helps rebuild pastor’s heart

Bob Wilson probably had about six months to live when surgeons implanted a left ventricular assist device and arranged for The Bates Memorial Baptist Church pastor’s heart was failing. Find out how medication reversed heart failure so he can spread the good word for many years to come.a heart transplant.

What to Expect as a Ventricular Assist Device Candidate

Consideration for ventricular assist device placement includes a series of tests to make sure it is the right treatment for you. The testing includes bloodwork, ultrasounds,  echocardiograms, cardiac catheterization, pulmonary function tests and meeting with a dietitian, social worker, financial coordinator, cardiologist, surgeon and palliative care provider. Our team will work to coordinate these steps over just a few days. If you’ve been admitted to the hospital, these tests and steps will be completed during your stay.

A multidisciplinary meeting of the Ventricular Assist Device Program team will review your test results. Then, the team members will discuss their recommendations with you and your caregiver.

What to Expect From Ventricular Assist Device Surgery and After

A ventricular assist device is implanted in an open heart surgical procedure under general anesthesia. The surgery usually takes four to six hours.

Once the VAD has been implanted, you will be transferred to the Norton Audubon Hospital open heart recovery area where nurses will monitor the ventricular assist device and help you recover from surgery.

Once the initial recovery period is over and your condition is stable, you will move to the step-down unit, known as a progressive care unit. There you will complete your recovery from surgery, become familiar with the ventricular assist device and resume daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating and exercising.

You and your family will learn more about the ventricular assist device in a class for you and your caregivers to gain in-depth knowledge about the ventricular assist device and daily care.

Going Home With a Ventricular Assist Device

It will take some time for you to get used to living with a ventricular assist device, and we will be there to help you along the way.

Some of the tasks you will have at home include:

  • Daily driveline exit site dressing changes
  • Daily weight and ventricular assist device readings
  • Knowledge of your medications and discipline in taking them properly
  • Being available for home health visits
  • Going to the lab for bloodwork when asked
  • Calling when you have any of the issues discussed before you were discharged
  • Coming in for all clinic appointments
  • Taking care of the ventricular assist device equipment as you were instructed before you were discharged
Meet Our Specialists

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Every year, more than 137,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville all have received Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This is the seventh consecutive accreditation for all four hospitals, which ensures quality for the treatment of heart attack.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital all are recognized as having ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation.
  • Norton Healthcare has the most facilities across the city of Louisville with the ability treat a life-threatening heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 100 physicians and advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 28 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Hospitals ranked Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville as high performing in heart attack, heart failure, aortic valve surgery and heart bypass surgery.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital earned ventricular assist device (VAD) accreditation from DNV – Healthcare and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free Norton MyChart account.

Related Stories

Sotatercept: A new pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment
Women form lasting bond over shared heart transplant journeys
How to exercise with heart failure
How long you can live with heart failure depends on many factors — lifestyle, stage of the condition and more

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.