“For four days, Ravinder Kumar (52) lived without a heart, literally. In order to repair a serious defect in his valves, doctors had to replace the organ — which was too weak to even pump blood — with an artificial device.
Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), a machine which mimics the heart’s functions, offers a ray of hope to thousands of patients whose hearts are too weak to survive a life-saving surgery and those waiting for heart transplant, say doctors. In western countries like the US, research is on to develop the miniature version of the machine into a mechanical circulatory support device which can permanently replace the natural heart.
“The heart and lung machine, which is commonly used to support organs during cardiac surgeries, also works on the same principle but it can only function for four to six hours. Also, prolonged use can cause severe side-effects which may eventually lead to death due to heavy bleeding. On the other hand, LVADs can pump blood for two weeks or even more thus increasing the window period for doctors to correct the heart defect,” said Dr Sujay Shad, senior consultant cardiac surgeon and Director of Cardiac Transplants, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital who conducted the successful surgery.”