This article reports our experience with ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a bridge to cardiac transplantation. From 1991 to 2003, a total of 42 patients received a Thoratec VAD (Thoratec Laboratories Corporation Inc., Pleasanton, CA, U.S.A.) (Group T) and 12 patients received a Novacor VAD (WorldHeart Corporation, Ottawa, Canada) (Group N). Thirty Thoratec patients were transplanted compared to six in the Novacor group. Four more Novacor patients are still supported. Of the transplanted patients, 87% survived to hospital discharge in Group T and 67% in Group N. Infections affected 29% and 50% of Group T patients during support and post-transplantation, respectively, compared to 25% and 0%, respectively, in Group N. Neurologic complications affected 33% of patients in each group during support. Reopening rates for bleeding during support were 45% and 42% in Groups T and N, respectively. There were no significant differences in outcomes between the two groups. Our study demonstrated the effectiveness of VADs in bridging mortally ill cardiac patients to successful heart transplantation.