VADs can be defined by the action that they perform. VADs can pump blood by a spinning action (continuous flow VAD) or by a pumping action (pulsatile flow VAD).
Pulsatile flow VADs work by pumping blood in and out of a chamber. Air moves a membrane to fill and eject blood from the chambers to the body. The pump is connected to a power source. If you have a pulsatile flow VAD, you will have a pulse. The most common examples of pulsatile flow VADs are Berlin Heart® EXCOR® Pediatric and the Syncardia Total Artificial Heart.
Learn about the SynCardia Total Artificial
Heart, how it works, the benefits and risks,
and all about the surgery journey.
Continuous flow (CF) VADs work by continuously spinning blood and ejecting it from the heart, through the device, out to the aorta, and the rest of the body. There is a small motor located inside the VAD that helps with this spinning motion. The pump is always connected to a power source that keeps the VAD spinning. Because the continuous flow device bypasses the weakened heart chamber, you may not have a pulse. The most common examples of continuous flow VADs are Medtronic™ HVAD System and HeartMate 3™ LVAD.