No one is more proud than us at CTVS when our physicians share their expertise and skills beyond our practice to improve the health and well-being of so many others. Dr. Jonathan Yang, one of our board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons, serves as surgical director of the advanced heart failure program at Heart Hospital of Austin where he will help oversee the VAD/ECMO program.
Dr. Yang has a special interest in advanced life-saving technologies and procedures such as mechanical circulatory support (VAD and ECMO), heart transplantation, and aortic surgery.
We are fortunate in Central Texas to have a handful of facilities that offer access to these life-saving technologies…and anyone who is under the treatment of Dr. Yang’s exceptionally capable and caring hands is very fortunate as well.
“As we continue to still see some patients who fall into life-threatening situations due to severe cases of COVID-19, VAD and especially ECMO technologies can help sustain heart and lung function when the body is weakened and unable to do so,” says Dr. Yang. “ECMO technology literally helps breathe life back into someone’s lungs while we are working hard to heal and repair them.”
What are VAD and ECMO technologies?
A VAD, or ventricular assist device, is a battery-operated mechanical pump surgically implanted into the chest to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. It is often used in patients who have advanced heart failure when all other medical interventions have proven unsuccessful or while they are awaiting a heart transplant. The VAD keeps blood pumping and serves as a “bridge to transplant” until a new heart can take over.
ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and is a life support machine for those suffering from both heart and lung failure. It pumps and oxygenates blood outside of the body when the heart and lungs have stopped working, or are undergoing surgical repair. In addition to being used for COVID patients with lung and respiratory complications, ECMO is used in other life-threatening situations such as complications from a serious infection, or shock following a traumatic injury, stroke or heart attack.