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Diane N. Caregiver

Dizzy and passing out

Hi, I'm a new caregiver. My husband (49) got his VAD Aug 21 and is doing well except for dizzy spells and one really scarey pass out for 15 seconds. Is anyone experiencing these things and how are you dealing with it? We've done a right cath and echos and they are normal. His Heartmate 2 is not alarming and defib/pacer is running smoothly. Can anyone advise us?

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Kathy C.

My husband was getting dizzy spells after his LVAD in March, 2013. He doesn't get as many now but he seems to think that when he takes a water pill he gets dizzy the next day. VAD coordinator said LVAD patients complain a lot about that. Could be dehydration. He has never passed out though.

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Diane N.

Hi Kathy, thank you so much for your shared thoughts. Tim was taken off the water pill because the doc was thinking dehydration as well. His spells have lessened and he has not experienced another scarey pass out. He was sitting and leaning to his right when the scary pass out happened. One thought was he kinked his line just enough to stop the oxygen to is brain. He had just tied his shoes ten minutes prior. Thank you again for your outs, Diane

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david v.

I've been dizzy lots of times, kind of goes with the territory, but the passing out is a very serious event. Make sure that you call your team when any of this occurs and never hesitate. I have emails of my coordinators. If i think it merits attention i write for an answer, if I'm freaking, i call the 24 hour hotline. what I have done is to make one of those cheap silicone bracelets with the hotline number printed on it just for such a situation if I was alone. Then at least the ambulance team or whoever comes to my rescue will see the number right away.

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Joan J.

My husband (35 years old, also has HeartMate II) had dizzy spells and passing outs. Unfortunately, in his case it was not dehydration problem. It appeared that it was a problem with the HeartMate fixing - after the operatioin everything was ok but after a few weeks his heart got much smaller and the pump started to pull the heart from time to time causing sudden passing out episodes. It was not predictable when it was happenig i.e. sometimes he was passing out when walking and sometimes when just sitting. No rule. He had another operation in order to loosen the pump fixation. After loosening it up dizzines and passing outs never happened again and now it has been over a year without such episodes. Now he can safely drive his car, go to work and lead a normal life without having a fear of a pass out accident. Of course hydration is very important so he takes at least 2 litres of water a day.
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Terri R.

My husband experienced bouts of dizziness and fainting in the past. A few times it was due to dehydration. Other times, we were told it may have been due to bending. We were told bending may cause the symptoms. It does something to the blood flow. I don't know the details. You would have to ask the doctor about this and other possible causes.
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Melisa H.

Can be a number of things. Anemia, dehydration, medication, suction event, hypotension (low blood pressure or arterial pressure) ect. Should always call your team. A low arterial pressure aka MAP, can be dangerous. My husband was extremely dizzy, to the point he couldn't get out of bed. I checked his arterial pressure (doppler, bp cuff) the 2nd day as his symptoms were not improving. His arterial pressure was only 44, way too low. Normal pressure for LVADers is usually 70-90. Withheld all blood pressure meds, called the team and they agreed to hold it for a few days. Dizziness went away and he felt much better.
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Sally B.

I had a lot of dizziness for the first few months after surgery. It gradually got better. Now I'm hardly bothered by it at all. (I'm 7 months post surgery) Ask your coordinator if they think you just need to give it more time. My problem was dehydration but also anemia and V tachycardia.
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Jeff W.

Deealti, Do you take his blood pressure? Dehydration can be a cause but also an LVAD patient also typically has low blood pressure. I take mine daily-- lucky that I can get one but only on my left arm using a typical drug store kit. I typically run at mid 90's over mid 70's. So if I bend over and stand up I am dizzy.
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anne b.

my husband received his lvad about 3 weeks ago.. but has been having problems with lightheadness and dizziness. His PI pressure drops to 2.5. he was discharged from hospital on a Friday and went back on Saturday after passing out at home. now they are tweaking his meds an trying new meds.. I am so anxious to take him home.. afraid it wwill happen again. It just happens at random times.. has anyone experienced his right after surgery?