Tiny heart pumps offer help and hope as heart failure advances, from the Harvard Heart Letter

Heart pumps the size of two D batteries offer hope, help, and more time for thousands of people with failing hearts who are enduring the long wait for a transplant or who aren't eligible for one. These small pumps, known as left ventricular assist devices, take over the work of the left ventricle, but don't replace it, explains the January 2011 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

A left ventricular assist device doesn't tie the user to bed or confine him or her to home. Instead, rechargeable batteries attached to a belt or worn in a vest power the pump for 10 hours or more, allowing the user to go to the store, dance, garden, travel, and do other normal mobile activities.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »