Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Devices

A heart that needs help pumping blood may benefit from a mechanical circulatory support device.

A mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device helps a weakened heart by taking over the pumping action of a failing heart ventricle to provide adequate blood circulation throughout the body.

MCS devices can be used for three specific purposes:

  • To help a patient recover from surgery
  • To support a patient who is waiting for a heart transplant
  • As long-term therapy for patients with severe heart failure who are not candidates for heart transplantation

Since 2002, Tampa General Hospital’s mechanical circulatory support experts have been committed to the care of individuals with end-stage heart disease. Our program has received advanced disease-specific certification from The Joint Commission and is recognized as a center of excellence regionally and nationally.

Conditions Treated

A mechanical circulatory support device may be needed for patients experiencing:

  • Cardiac sarcoidosis
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Cardiomyopathy (hypertrophic or inherited)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart failure

Mechanical Circulatory Support Device Details

TGH is one of the busiest centers in the nation providing MCS therapy, and we offer a variety of devices to help patients with heart conditions:

  • HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) – A continuous flow, implantable pump, this device is surgically implanted with one end directly placed in the left side of the heart and the other end connected to the aorta. The pump serves to divert some of the blood flow from the weakened heart directly into the circulatory system. It is then attached to a driveline, which is tunneled through the abdomen and exits through the abdominal wall. This driveline attaches to a controller (microprocessor) and is powered by either AC adaption or batteries.
  • HeartWare® Left Ventricular Assist Device – The HeartWare LVAD is a surgically implanted, continuous centrifugal flow device. One end of the tube is directly sewn into the left side of the heart and the other end is sewn into the circulatory system. The driveline is tunneled through the abdomen, exiting the body through the abdominal wall. The driveline is attached to a controller, which displays the pump parameters such as flow and any active alarm statuses. The controller is then attached to a power source: AC adapter, car adapter or batteries.
  • Heartmate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist Device – This MCS device is a continuous flow, implantable pump that is connected to the left side of the heart to move oxygenated blood from the left ventricle throughout the body. This driveline attaches to a controller (microprocessor) and is powered by either AC adaption or batteries.
  • SynCardia Total Artificial Heart (TAH) – For patients in end-stage heart failure, this device replaces the function of the heart completely.

What to Expect

MCS devices are not an option for everyone; however, many patients who are candidates for this support report feeling better and stronger after having them implanted. There is an adjustment period for both patients and their caregivers, as they learn how to live with the mechanical device and troubleshoot any issues that may occur. Most patients are able to return to work and live a normal lifestyle with some restrictions, such as no swimming or participating in contact sports.

While these devices provide life-saving benefits for people who are either waiting for a heart or unable to undergo a heart transplant, the procedure is not without risks. They include:

  • Blood clots
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Device malfunction
  • Right heart failure

Effectiveness

TGH strives to be at the forefront of clinical services and medical research and, in conjunction with our USF partners, to become a regional, national and international education center for MCS device therapy. Our Heart & Vascular Institute comprises highly skilled cardiac specialists, from board-certified surgeons to electrophysiologists, all of whom provide world-class MCS device implantation for patients.