Understanding ventricular assist devices: A self-study guide

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Considerable progress has been made over the past several decades in development of ventricular assist device (VAD) technology. Initially, failure to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass was the primary indication for VAD support. However, VAD role has expanded to include patients with ventricular failure due to myocardial infarction and patients awaiting cardiac transplantation. A greater number of nurses, both in the intensive care and general floors, are required to care for patients supported with VADs. Therefore, a self-study guide was developed to facilitate learning. Heart failure physiology, mechanical device descriptions, patient selection, potential complications, and nursing care of patients who require VAD support are reviewed.

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