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mtndog's picture mtndog
Transplant v. Lvad - SCUBA diving
Fri, 01/12/2018 - 2:01am

I am starting the transplant process. It has been recommended to me to avoid an Lvad at all cost. My condition is such that even an Lvad is only delaying the transplant and adding several surgeries. The transplant clinic has floated the idea, but it's too early in the process for anyone to pick a path yet. My question is, I am extremely active outdoors. Including SCUBA diving. Does anyone have any experience SCUBA diving with an Lvad? Alls I get from doctors is, "we will talk later about that"

Bob_Butler's picture Bob_Butler
Water Limitations with LVAD
Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:23pm

Hi - sorry, but with an LVAD (Heartmate II or III) you cannot be submersed in water or partake in swimming of any kind. I've had mine 4.5 years now and really miss the water.

You will have a driveline exiting your abdomen that you need to keep dry and protect from infection, and a computer controller and batteries external to your body.

I have heard they are working on an LVAD that is completely inside you with wirelessly charged batteries. When, and if that ever becomes a reality, then it's likely swimming could happen in my opinion but I'm not a doctor, just an experienced patient.

You haven't shared your particular circumstances, but agree the LVAD is a personal choice and the surgery, like any open heart surgery is significant.

Good luck to you!

pinegrove's picture pinegrove
Not sure who you are talking
Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:45pm

Not sure who you are talking to but as a FORMER scuba diver, I can tell that with an LVAD, you CANNOT SUBMERGE IN WATER. No bathing, no swimming. Showering using special bag to contain batteries and computer. If you can hold out for transplant, DO. I am not a candidate for transplant, so am living with restrictions.

frankeieio's picture frankeieio
Avoiding a LVAD
Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:47pm

What were the reasons given to you to avoid an LVAD?

larrie's picture larrie
I have scuba dived with an LVAD
Sat, 01/20/2018 - 5:03pm

I may be the first. I have scuba dived with a Heartmate II in a drysuit. But what so far has just been a single pool dive under highly controlled conditions was eight months in the planning and involved a 12-person team from both the dive safety and medical communities. This is not ready for the general public, but it can and has been done. There are dive training agencies who specialize in bringing the sport of scuba to divers with moderate to severe disabilities, who someday may work alongside your own VAD/MCS medical team, sharing expertise to make this safer and, under the right circumstances, possible. My scuba dive required a significant amount of previous dive experience and the construction of some specialized equipment inside the drysuit to monitor for leakage. We have not even begun to research safe limits for open water diving but I hope to do that in the coming months. So, it ain't easy but it may be possible. I was amused by the comment from your doctor: "We will talk later about that." I got virtually the same thing! But I kept talking and doing and working hard at my recovery and, with the support of a whole bunch of great people, we made it happen! If you're interested in the entire eight month journey, we documented it. You can see it here: