Orthotopic heart transplant is recognized as the gold standard for the treatment of end-stage heart disease. However, there is a perennial shortage of donor organs. Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) represent a revolutionary tool for temporizing heart failure that is refractory to medical management until a suitable organ becomes available. This review highlights the LVAD as a tool for bridging to transplant. The history of the LVAD and its use in heart transplantation is described, as well as the current indications for use in the general heart transplant candidate as well as for selected subpopulations. It also highlights the major complications of LVAD use, advancements in the field, and selected current controversies related to the LVAD as bridge-to-transplant therapy.
Part of the book: Heart Transplantation