First Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Program for Adults in Tarrant County Launches at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth

Device offers hope for patients with advanced heart failure

Download B-roll and doctor interview from first LVAD patient at
Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth here.

FORT WORTH, Texas – A new left ventricular assist device (LVAD) program at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth—the first of its kind in Tarrant County—offers new hope for adult patients with advanced heart failure awaiting a heart transplant or who are unable to undergo transplantation surgery. The hospital brought the program to Tarrant County as part of its mission to promote the well-being of all individuals, families and communities.

An LVAD is an implantable mechanical device that partially or completely replaces the pumping of a failing heart.

"Offering this kind of therapy allows us to save more lives closer to home and gives patients the chance to live a higher quality of life than they might without treatments like this," said Jay Herd, MD, chief medical officer of Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth. "LVAD technology is a milestone for our patients and our multidisciplinary team on the front lines of battling advanced heart failure."

Salman Gohar, MD, FACC, medical director of the advanced heart failure and mechanical circulatory support service at Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth, added, "With an LVAD, a patient’s quality of life can improve dramatically: They can ride a bicycle, play golf, go to ball games, play instruments, go on hikes or travel across the country. But more importantly, they can survive without taking a lot of medicines to keep fluid from building up. And they do so with fewer trips to the hospital or emergency department and with more time spent with those they love."

Advanced heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. The condition causes severe fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased mobility and extreme buildup of body fluids—leading to hospital admissions, reduced quality of life and increased risk of death.

Of the more than 6 million Americans living with heart failure, about 10% have advanced heart failure, according to the American Heart Association. Conventional therapies and symptom management strategies no longer work for someone with advanced heart failure, who feels shortness of breath and other symptoms, even when at rest. The American College of Cardiology’s A-to-D staging system classifies those with advanced heart failure as "stage D."

In 2020, only 3,363 heart transplantations were performed in the U.S., according to the Health Resources & Services Administration. LVADs can be implanted in a patient with advanced heart failure who does not meet the criteria to receive an organ, which can include factors such as age, other diseases or overall health. An LVAD can also be used as a bridge therapy while a patient awaits transplantation.

LVAD technology helps the patient’s heart pump blood continuously through the body, which can improve survival. The device is placed under the skin of the upper abdomen while two tubes are surgically connected to the heart’s left ventricle and the aorta. This allows the device to pump blood away from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta. The LVAD is powered by a small external control system and battery pack worn by the patient. At Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth, physicians use a type of LVAD that features full magnetic levitation technology to optimize blood flow and maintain blood integrity. Its external control device is approximately the size of a typical smartphone or a hockey puck.

The first patient to receive an LVAD at Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth received a device on July 26 and recovered.

"It gives me satisfaction to help patients continue to remain part of the lives of their loved ones," said Dr. Gohar. "We all know how our relationships form us: If you get to spend more time with your grandparent or your parent, that’s valuable. When you see them thrive and be happy and not be sick all the time, there’s nothing like it."

To reach the advanced heart failure clinic at Baylor Scott & White – Fort Worth, call (817) 922-2273 and select option 2.

Physician Disclaimer

Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers, Baylor Health Care System, Scott & White Healthcare or Baylor Scott & White Health.

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About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: