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Christine G. Recipient

Driving a Car with an LVAD


Had my LVAD for 7 weeks. Wondering what anyone else has been told by their doctor regarding driving a car. Wondering if anyone is driving and at what week did you start to drive. I continue to sit in the back sit as a passenger. Thanks Friends.


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Andrea M.

I'm 7 weeks in, too. Had my HeartMate II implanted on May 23. My surgeon has never mentioned driving at all. The nurses on the VAD Clinic team advised upon my discharge that I be either a backseat passenger or otherwise ride where there was no airbag. Our car has a passenger side airbag but it can be turned off, so I do ride in the front.

I imagine we drive at our own risk... if an airbag can pose a danger to us, then a steering wheel to the sternum certainly would. I plan to ask at my next clinic visit next week!

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Blake C.

I started driving about 2 months after implantation. I'm not concerned about airbags , as any serious accident , no matter where you're sitting , could impact your health. In my province , we receive I.D. cards to wear around your neck (like a concert pass) , which identifies you as a special patient , and alerts first responders that you may present without a pluse or blood pressure , and how to handle patient , as well as which hospital to take you.

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Thomas M.

As I recall, I was able to drive six weeks after surgery. They want to ensure enough time as passed for the sternum to have healed properly. Yes, it is the airbag they fear - that it will re-open the sternum. But, I think that every hospital and surgeon could be different regarding their guidelines.

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David G.

essentually, you can drive once your sternum has completly healed which is the Surgeon's call . You have to remember to ask the nurse practitioner on your clinic visit's and ask her/him to ask the surgeon if he/she think's you've healed up enough to drive. I find it helpfull to write all the question's down that I have for the surgeon and pass them on to the nurses. Remember, the more direct route of communication with your surgeon is through the nurses/nurse practitioner's

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Thomas B.

I had my LVAD implanted on 6/12/2013. I waited about 7 weeks before driving when I was past sternum precautions. There is always a danger of accidents and air bag deployment. The alternative could be a lot less wanted. I was also told to start off slow, just around the neighborhood and have someone with you for your first long drive (30 minutes). Good luck

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Carol G.

I received my OK to drive after my 3 month visit. I have not been brave enough to venture behind the wheel not even for a short distance. I do ride in the front seat but with the passenger seat back as far as it will go and the back of the seat tilted back a little.


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John R.

Does anyone know what states prohibit driving with a LVAD, if any!!!!!
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Mitchell W.

I have had my HM2 for almost 17 months now. At first I was also not allowed to drive. Sternum Precautions. However, I started driving small short distances at about 10 weeks out. Then after my 12 week check up, I got the actual ok to go back to driving. A lot of it depends on the healing process and the overall experience of the surgery. All of us heal at different rates. Some take longer than others and should not rush it. I went to my hospital the other day to help train rehab residents about LVAD patients and the lady that was there with me as the HeartWare patient was actually in the hospital for 2 months before she was even able to leave just the hospital. But if you have fully healed, are not dealing with any complications, and are stable on the pump, then there is no reason you can't drive. I am even back to driving emergency vehicles at this point. Took some convincing, but I got approval.
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In reply to by Mitchell W.

paula j.

After receiving his LVAD, my husband was emphatically told not only that he couldn't drive, but that he should ride in the back seat for as long as he had it. He followed their directions, even though it was annoying! Small price to pay :-)