Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Devices

Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) therapy involves the use of sophisticated medical technology to improve heart function. Implantable MCS devices are designed to “step in”—either temporarily or permanently—to supplement or replace the pumping action of a weakened heart. Due to groundbreaking technological advances, today’s MCS devices are safer, smaller, more efficient and more easily implanted than ever before.

In Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute, the outstanding team in our Heart Failure Center of Excellence works with all types of temporary and durable MCS devices, and our surgeons are skilled in utilizing the latest less  invasive implantation techniques. Since the 1990s, the researchers and clinicians in our MCS Program have been participating in landmark studies and clinical trials to continually improve these vital therapeutic options for patients facing complex cardiac issues.

In collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine, TGH provides comprehensive, next-generation cardiac care backed by academic medicine. A respected leader in ranking hospitals nationwide, U.S. News and World Report has ranked TGH as one of the Nation's Best Hospitals for Heart & Vascular Care in 2024-25.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With MCS Devices?

MCS devices can be instrumental in addressing several complex heart and vascular issues, such as:

  • Severe heart failure – Long-term mechanical support can improve cardiac output if the heart muscle is consistently unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
  • Bridge to transplant – A patient awaiting heart transplantation can receive essential circulatory support until a suitable donor organ becomes available.
  • Recovery from an acute cardiac event – An MCS device can enhance the heart’s pumping function after a heart attack, unstable angina or irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • Myocarditis – If cardiac function is significantly impaired due to inflammation of the heart muscle, mechanical support can be used to ensure adequate blood flow throughout the body.
  • Cardiogenic shock – An MCS device can increase cardiac output if the heart’s pumping ability is suddenly and severely compromised.
  • A high-risk intervention – Temporary mechanical support can be used to maintain sufficient blood flow during and immediately after a complex cardiac procedure.
  • Post-cardiotomy shock – If a patient experiences shock after cardiac surgery, mechanical support can be used to stabilize the patient’s circulatory function.

Types of MCS Devices

The types of MCS devices include:

HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

The HeartMate 3 is designed to provide mechanical circulatory support to a weakened heart. HeartMate 3 is the latest iteration of durable MCS and an advanced device that incorporates a fully magnetically levitated rotor, which reduces friction and enhances durability and hemocompatibility, reducing incidence of adverse events. It also allows for wider pump speed ranges, potentially improving patient outcomes.

Temporary MCS Devices

While durable MCS devices only assist the left ventricle, temporary MCS devices can assist the left ventricle, right ventricle or both ventricles. Currently available options include:

  • Impella 5.5® with SmartAssist®
  • Impella CP® with SmartAssist®
  • Impella RP Flex™ with SmartAssist® (TGH is one of only five hospitals in the nation to offer clinical inpatient care for patients with this device)
  • CentriMag™ Acute Circulatory Support System

What to Expect With MCS Therapy

After an MCS device is surgically implanted, the patient is carefully monitored. Usually, it takes time to adjust to the device and learn to recognize and troubleshoot issues. Possible complications include infection, bleeding, blood clots and device malfunctions. Close collaboration among the patient and their treatment team is essential to ensure the best possible outcome.

As the MCS device enhances the heart’s pumping function and improves blood flow, the patient may experience symptom improvement, such as less fatigue and shortness of breath. Most patients can ultimately resume their normal activities with a few restrictions, such as avoiding contact sports and any activities that involve being submerged in water.

Effectiveness of MCS Devices

Numerous clinical studies and real-world experiences attest to the effectiveness of MCS devices in relieving cardiac symptoms, improving quality of life and enhancing the survival rates of patients with severe heart failure. By boosting or taking over the heart’s pumping function, an MCS device such as an LVAD can ensure sufficient blood circulation to support vital organs and prevent life-threatening complications. Survival with LVAD is similar to heart transplant.

Benefit From World-Class Care at TGH

TGH is firmly positioned at the forefront of clinical services and medical research. In collaboration with our academic partner, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, we strive to become a regional, national and international education center for MCS device therapy. To learn more, please call (813) 844-8220. You can also reach us via email at

If you would like to refer a patient to TGH, please call (813) 844-8220 or click here for our Heart Failure Referral Form. Candidates for advanced heart failure care can be referred to our Heart Failure Center of Excellence to be evaluated for MCS therapy as part of our continuum of care. Through continued collaboration and partnership with the referring physician, TGH will help to ensure the best possible outcome and quality of life for the patient.

To transfer a patient from another facility, please call 1-800-844-7979. Available 24 hours a day, the TGH Transfer Center can assist with a safe and effective patient transfer.