Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have become an indispensable tool in the management of end-stage cardiac failure, both as a means of bridging to cardiac transplantation and as destination therapy for long-term quality of life improvement. Although the technology continues to advance and these devices continue to be refined, they are still associated with significant complications. This article reviews the basics of VAD function and physiology, as well as the myriad to complications that follow their implantation. This review aims to provide a systematic approach to the troubleshooting, diagnosis and management of both VAD-associated complications and the resuscitation of the decompensated VAD patient presenting to the ED.
Keywords: complication; emergency; resuscitation; ventricular assist device.
© 2014 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine.