Heart failure (HF) is a major public health problem in the United States, and its prevalence is likely to increase with the aging U.S. population. Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) utilizing bladder-based blood pumps generating pulsatile flow has been reserved for patients with severe HF failing medical therapy. As MCS technology has advanced to include rotary blood pumps, so has our understanding of the biological and clinical responses to MCS, which in turn has altered the risk/benefit profile of this therapy. This may lead to paradigm shifts in device usage from support of end-stage HF to temporary support for recovery of cardiac function and earlier usage, to, ultimately, prevention of disease progression. This review serves to explore the current state and future opportunities of MCS within our larger understanding of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment options for HF.
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