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2.2.11 Ventricular assist devices (VAD)

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is an electromechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. Some VADs are intended for short-term use, typically for patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery. Others are intended for long-term use (months to years and in some cases for life), typically for heart failure. VADs are designed to assist either the right (RVAD) or left (LVAD) ventricle, or both at once (BiVAD). They carry a small risk of stroke or device failure.

The driver licensing authority may consider a conditional licence for a private driver with a LVAD, but not for commercial drivers. Combined LVAD/RVAD and total artificial hearts are not acceptable for either private or commercial vehicle drivers. RVAD are generally not used for ambulatory patients.

As part of ongoing recovery, patients should undergo a rehabilitation program to ensure confidence in using the equipment.

Persons with very severe heart failure may have persisting cognitive or neurological impairment and warrant a practical driving assessment (refer to Part A section 2.3.1 Practical driver assessments).