The LifeFlight VAD team, in partnership with the Utah Artificial Heart Program (UAHP) at Intermountain Medical Center, is the leader in the Intermountain region in transporting patients who require mechanical circulatory support. These transports fit in two categories:

  • Temporary VADs (CentriMag) and/or Cardiopulmonary Support (CPS) for patients in acute cardiogenic shock or who have failed to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass.
  • Implanted (and more long-term) Ventricular Assist Devices (HeartMate XVE, HeartMate II and Thoratec VAD) for patients who need chronic support for advanced heart failure.

A collaborative team involving Life Flight, UAHP, critical care nurses, perfusionists, thoracic surgeons, and critical care physicians has developed protocols for transporting these patients. VAD nurse coordinators are available as resources as well as to accompany the crewmembers on some transports.

Life Flight support is especially important to the VAD patients that live at home with their devices (most often the HeartMate XVE and HeartMate II LVADs). Many of these patients travel from other states to our center with a goal that they can return home. Life Flight support is critical in the rare event that they need to be transported back to the implanting center for a device or medical issue.

The Life Flight team has been involved with the UAHP and their patients since the first LVAD patient was discharged from the hospital in 1997. The UAHP has 15 years of experience in artificial heart technology - among the longest and most active of any artificial heart program in the country.

A note on Temporary VAD support:
Intermountain Medical Center supports the Thoratec (also known as Levitronix) CentriMag centrifugal pumps alone and in circuit as CPS. If your center uses another type of centrifugal pump, the transport team will switch your patient to the Levitronix system upon arrival to your center.