Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices

Sharp uses nine different types of mechanical circulatory support devices. Different devices are used depending on the individual needs of each patient.

CardioWest Total Artificial Heart (TAH)
The CardioWest device is a total artificial heart, replacing workload for both the right and left ventricles. Sharp Memorial Hospital is one of only 12 centers in the United States using this device.

The CardioWest TAH is FDA approved for use only as a bridge-to-cardiac transplant and is used in rare patients who need complete temporary cardiac replacement. Patients with this device are transferred out of the intensive care unit but must remain in the hospital until they receive a cardiac transplant. As a study center, Sharp will be evaluating the effectiveness of the new portable drive system, which will allow these patients to return home while waiting for their heart transplant.

CardioWest Total Artificial Heart Image

Extra Corporeal Life Support (ECLS)
The ECLS system provides emergency, short-term support for patients with failing heart and/or lungs.

Sharp Memorial Hospital is one of the few hospitals nationally that have the capability of initiating this system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained group of nurses and doctors are available at all times to start support within 10 minutes if needed.


HeartMate II
The HeartMate II® is a small, quiet and advanced blood pump designed to restore circulation and improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Through the rotations of a single moving part, the HeartMate II LVAS pumps blood from the heart throughout the body at up to 10 liters per minute, the full output of a healthy heart. The HeartMate II is FDA approved for bridge to transplant and destination therapy in patients with end-stage heart failure.

Heart Mate II Left Ventricular Assist Device Rendering
The HeartWare is the newest small, silent left ventricular assist device. This pump is a magnetically levitated centrifugal flow pump, which can provide the full output of a healthy heart, restoring normal circulation and improving quality of life. This pump fits in the chest cavity, implanted in the apex of the left ventricle. This pump is FDA approved for bridge to transplant and is also being used in an FDA-approved study for destination therapy in patients with end-stage heart failure.
HeartWare left ventricular assist device illustration
The Impella® is a small, internal, short-term axial flow pump that provides left-sided cardiac support of up to 2 or 5 liters of flow. During a cardiac catheterization procedure, the cannula pump is placed into the left ventricle through the femoral artery. Patients with this device will be cared for in the intensive care unit until the Impella is removed. It can be used as a bridge to cardiac recovery or as a bridge to another, longer-term device.
Impella heart pump

Intra Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP)
This is a short-term (generally less than one week) cardiac support device that has the added benefit of increasing coronary artery filling. It is frequently used following interventional cardiology procedures.

This device has been FDA approved for all types of cardiac support. Patients with this device are treated and monitored in the intensive care unit until the IABP can be removed.

The TandemHeart® is a small, external, short-term centrifugal flow pump that can support either the right or left side of the heart. Usually this pump is placed during a catheterization procedure. This pump can deliver up to 7 liters per minute of blood flow.

Patients with this pump must remain in the intensive care unit and in bed. It is intended for short-term bridge-to-cardiac recovery or bridge to a long-term device.


Thoratec Pump
This is another pulsitile pump and can be used as a right-, left- or bi-ventricular assist device (VAD) that can supply up to 7 liters of cardiac output. It is the only extracorporeal (outside the body) pump that can be used long term.

This device is available for use on smaller patients who cannot accommodate an internal pump. It is FDA approved for both post-cardiac surgical support as well as bridge to transplant. Patients may use this device while in the hospital or at home.

A diagram of the Thoratec Pump

For More Information
For more information about heart and vascular care at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego cardiologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.