Peak cardiac power output (CPO), as a direct measurement of overall cardiac function, has been shown to be a most powerful predictor of prognosis for patients with chronic heart failure. The present study assessed CPO and exercise performance in patients implanted with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), those explanted due to myocardial recovery, and those with moderate to severe heart failure. Hemodynamic and respiratory gas exchange measurements were undertaken at rest and at peak graded exercise. These were performed in 54 patients—20 with moderate to severe heart failure, 18 with implanted LVADs, and 16 with explanted LVADs. At rest there was a nonsignificant difference in CPO among groups (p >0.05). Peak CPO was significantly higher in the explanted LVAD than in the heart failure and implanted LVAD groups (heart failure 1.90 ± 0.45 W, implanted LVAD 2.37 ± 0.55 W, explanted LVAD 3.39 ± 0.61 W, p <0.01) as was peak cardiac output (heart failure 9.1 ± 2.1 L/min, implanted LVAD 12.4 ± 2.2 L/min, explanted LVD 14.6 ± 2.9 L/min, p <0.01). Peak oxygen consumption was higher in the explanted LVAD than in the heart failure and implanted LVAD groups (heart failure 15.8 ± 4.1 ml/kg/min, implanted LVAD 19.8 ± 5.8 ml/kg/min, explanted LVAD 28.2 ± 5.0 ml/kg/min, p <0.05) as was anaerobic threshold (heart failure 11.2 ± 1.9 ml/kg/min, implanted LVAD 14.7 ± 4.9 ml/kg/min, explanted LVAD 21.4 ± 5.0 ml/kg/min, p <0.05). In conclusion, peak CPO differentiates well during cardiac restoration using LVADs and emphasizes the benefits of this therapy. CPO has the potential to be a key physiologic marker of heart failure severity and can guide management of patients with LVAD.