This advanced procedure is performed on patients aged 69 or younger who are at risk of death within a year due to

  • Advanced cardiomyopathy: Diseases of the heart that have reached a critical phase.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: The pressure in the blood vessels from the heart to the lungs is too high, causing a risk of death.
  • Advanced heart failure: When conventional therapies to improve the heart function no longer work. 

What is mechanical circulatory support?

Mechanical circulatory support, or “MCS,” refers to devices that help your heart function and can serve to enhance heart recovery. Several types of devices are available:

  • VAD (ventricular assist devices): If you are waiting for a heart transplant, you may require a VAD, or “left ventricular assist device,” which takes over the functions normally performed by the left ventricle. This lower heart chamber delivers oxygen-rich blood to the body. The device can be implanted to take over this function while waiting for a transplant or if you are not a candidate for a heart transplant. Some patients are too ill to wait for a donor heart without great risk. The VAD implant allows the heart to rest and helps restore the body’s strength before undergoing transplant surgery.
  • Temporary total artificial heart (TAH): This device may be needed for people who are suffering end-stage heart failure. A TAH temporarily performs the function of both heart ventricles. 
  • ECMO: This advanced system takes over the function of the lungs and heart exterior to the body.
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP): A computer-controlled device that inflates and deflates to help the heart pump blood to the rest of the body.

Mechanical circulatory support: San Diego Cardiac Center

An MCS device helps your heart function when it is unable to perform as nature intended. At San Diego Cardiac Center, we deliver cutting-edge heart therapies and treatments, including implanting MCS devices with minimally invasive techniques. 

If you are awaiting a heart transplant, it often takes more time than your heart can survive. With about 3,000 people on the waiting list, it may be appropriate to implant one of these groundbreaking devices to protect your health and increase your general wellbeing while waiting for a donor heart. 

Why do I need an MCS?

You may be told you need an MCS for one of several reasons:

  • Bridge-to-transplant: To maintain your heart function while waiting for heart transplant surgery.
  • Destination therapy: If you are not a candidate for a heart transplant for any reason, this device can be implanted to support your heart health for the long term.
  • After heart transplant surgery: After a heart transplant, it may be necessary to support your system with MCS. This can occur under specific circumstances, and when it does, these devices are life-saving. They can be the critical point in survival should there have been a health issue that arises during the transplant surgery.

Our heart specialists: San Diego Cardiac Center

When you are under the care of the heart specialists at San Diego Cardiac Center, you can expect compassionate care and state-of-the-art therapies and treatments. We have been engaged in ongoing clinical research that allows us to offer our patients newly-developed treatments before they become available at any other clinic in the region. 

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