Most clinical experience with VADs to date has been in their bridge-to-transplant use, and the data indicate that support by a VAD may actually improve a patient’s ability to accept and use a donor heart.* For patients awaiting a heart transplant, there are a number of available treatment options depending on the nature of their heart failure. But a 2002 study showed significantly superior survival for patients bridged to transplant via a VAD versus those treated with optimal drug therapy including inotropes, drugs that strengthen the heart’s contractions.
*”Left ventricular assist device therapy improves utilization of donor hearts.” Keith D. Aaronson, Michael J. Eppinger, David B. Dyke, Susan Wright, Francis D. Pagani. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 17 April 2002 (39: 1247-54).