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Mechanical Circulatory Support

As heart failure progresses and your heart grows weaker, you may need mechanical circulatory support. These devices give your heart a rest by helping to pump blood.

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute, you have access to some of the most advanced heart support options available, including devices still in the clinical trial phase.

Heart support devices at Allegheny Health Network

We offer a comprehensive range of devices to support heart function, including:

  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): Your doctor surgically implants a pump that helps your heart circulate blood. Learn more about VADs.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO): This machine pumps and oxygenates blood outside of your body giving your heart and lungs a rest. You must stay in the hospital while undergoing ECMO.
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP): This short-term, in-hospital support device uses an inflatable balloon system to aid your heart’s pumping action.
  • Total artificial heart: Our surgeons were the first in the region to use the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart for patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure. This device replaces the diseased heart and extends the life expectancy of those waiting for a heart transplant.

Options for heart transplant candidates

A VAD or other device can support your weakened heart until a heart transplant is possible. This technique is known as bridge to transplant.

VADs also can be used as a long-term option for those who are physically unable to get a heart transplant or do not want one. This technique is known as destination therapy.

AHN is one of the few centers in the country offering a bridge to bridge option. With this approach, you receive a series of different mechanical circulatory support devices until you’re ready to receive a more permanent device, such as a VAD. This process can get you strong enough to have a heart transplant. Learn more about heart transplants.

Leaders in cardiac care

AHN is the highest-rated health system in western Pennsylvania for patient safety in overall medical care, overall surgical care, heart attack treatment, heart failure treatment, and pulmonary care, according to the 2018 CareChex® quality rating system.*

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412.362.8677) or request an appointment to learn more about AHN cardiovascular services.

Our specialists See More

AHN Doctor Stephen Bailey
Stephen H Bailey, MD
Pittsburgh, PA
AHN Doctor Aron Goldberg
Aron T Goldberg, MD
Erie, PA
AHN Doctor Stephen Myers
Stephen C Myers, MD
Erie, PA

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*Number one in market claims are based on CareChex® 2018 Composite Quality Scores and Ratings™ for acute care hospitals serving the combined statistical area (CSA) of Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton. Source: 2018 CareChex, an information service of Quantros, Inc. January 2014 – June 2016