Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS)

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

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute, in addition to some of the most advanced heart support options available, you may also have access to mechanical assist devices still in development in clinical trials.

Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices at AHN

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.

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.


Impella is a pen-sized support device that can be used as a short-term heart solution to help maintain blood flow. It is placed in-hospital using a percutaneous procedure through the shoulder or groin. It pulls blood from the heart ventricle and pushes it out into the aorta.


TandemHeart is a short-term left heart bypass system, which is placed percutaneously.

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. A VAD can be implanted in one or both ventricles of your heart; however, it’s most frequently implanted in the left ventricle. When placed in the left ventricle, this device is called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

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.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment with AHN cardiovascular services.

Impella® is a registered trademark of ABIOMED and used with permission.

TandemHeart® is a registered trademark of CardiacAssist, Inc., and used with permission.