Mechanical Circulatory Conditions & Treatments

Approximately 100,000 patients in the United States could benefit from advanced heart therapies, including heart transplant, but only about 2,300 donor hearts are available annually.

When medications can no longer help and all other surgical options are exhausted, a heart patient may be a candidate for a mechanical circulatory support device.


The expert team of surgeons and specialists in the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at the Smidt Heart Institute offers the following services:

  • Providing cardiac and pulmonary support with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Assisting the left and/or right ventricle with ventricular assist devices
  • Total heart replacement

Treatment options for some advanced heart-failure patients include short-term and long-term mechanical circulatory support devices. These devices include:

  • Abbott-Thoratec Heartmate II is a small, quiet and advanced blood pump designed to restore circulation and improve patient quality of life. It is FDA-approved as a bridge-to-transplant and destination therapy in patient with end-stage heart failure.
  • Medtronic HeartWare is a small, silent left ventricular assist device. It is FDA-approved as a bridge-to-transplant and currently in clinical trials for destination therapy in patients with end-stage heart failure.
  • Total Artificial Heart is a FDA-approved artificial heart to use as a bridge-to-cardiac transplant replacement. It also is under clinical trials for destination therapy.
  • Impella is a small, internal, short-term pump that provides left-sided or right-sided temporary cardiac support. It is used as a bridge to cardiac recovery or as a bridge to a longer term device or transplant.
  • Tandem Heart is a small, external, short-term pump that supports either the left or right side of the heart. It is intended for short-term, bridge-to-cardiac recovery or a bridge to a longer term device.
  • Other devices in national clinical trials also are available