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
  • Durable and temporary devices
  • 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 III is the newest left ventricular assist device (LVAD) available. It is a small centrifugal pump that is implanted into the left ventricle. FDA approved for destination and bridge to transplant. We currently still support patients with Heartmate II LVAD. 
  • 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 an FDA-approved artificial heart to use as a bridge-to-cardiac transplant replacement. It also is under clinical trials for destination therapy.
  • Impella (CP, 5.0, RP) is a percutaneously placed catheter-based pump that provides temporary support of the left or right heart ventricle.
  • 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.
  • ECMO is a temporary device that provides circulatory support and oxygenation of blood for patients in cardiogenic shock.
  • Other devices in national clinical trials also are available.