Heart failure denotes a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump sufficient blood into the body tissue. Since too little blood is pumped, the organs do not receive enough oxygen or nutrients. Heart conditions can be congenital or they may develop during the course of a person's lifetime.
The following symptoms can occur as a result of heart failure:
The New York Heart Association (NYHA) classifies the severity of heart disorders – regardless of the cause of the disease – into four stages:
Degree of severity
Heart disease without physical limitations in everyday routine
No objective indications for cardiovascular disease
Heart disease with minor limitations in physical performance No complaints at rest
Objective indications for minor cardiovascular disease
Heart disease with major limitations in physical performance. No complaints at rest
Objective indications for moderate to severe cardiovascular disease
Severe physical limitations even with very light activity, complaints even at rest
Objective indications for severe cardiovascular disease
If the heart is so severely damaged that it can no longer adequately supply the organs with oxygen, it must be supported. A ventricular assist device performs the work of the heart partially or completely. Thus, this system allows for adequate blood flow and blood pressure.
Ventricular assist devices (VADs) may be used for the following diagnoses, in particular:
VADs are used on patients to bridge the waiting period until heart transplantation (thus called a "bridge to transplant"). Furthermore, VADs can serve as long-term therapy for patients for whom a heart transplantation is not a consideration (also known as "destination therapy"). In some cases the heart recovers to such an extent, due to the relief afforded by the VAD, that a transplantation is no longer necessary (also known as a "bridge to recovery").
... the heart has the approximate size of the fist of its owner?
... during an average human lifespan, the heart pumps approximately 220 million liters of blood throughout the body? With the same volume of water it would be possible to fill almost 88 Olympic swimming pools.
... the heart never sleeps? Even when the body is at rest, the heart muscles are working harder than a sprinter's leg muscles during a race.
There are VADs for the following types of support: