At the core of the HeartWare® System is a pumping device called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD sits inside your chest and is connected directly to your heart. It pumps blood from the left side of your heart into your aorta (large blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body). The blood exits the pump in a continuous stream much like water out of a garden hose. Note that this continuous flow of blood is different than the pulsing beat of a normal heart, and as a result you may not be able to feel your pulse. There is no need for concern, this is completely normal.
Image: HVAD® pump in pericardial space
The LVAD is run by a small external computer, called a controller. The LVAD and the controller are connected by a small cable (driveline) that passes through the skin on your upper abdomen. The controller runs the pump and also provides text messages and audible alarms to help you manage the operation of the system. The controller is powered by two batteries, or one battery and electricity from a wall or car outlet.
Image: Monitor with controller and batteries
The complete HeartWare System is portable. A carrying case may be worn around your waist or carried over your shoulder, allowing you to take the system with you, wherever you go. The system weighs about 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg).
Image: Implanted HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System