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Thomas M. Recipient

Tactile holster T shirt for carrying LVAD items

I am a new LVAD patient, and I have the HeartWare pump and controller. I just modified a 5.11 tactical shirt. I sewed in an 1 1/2 elastic strap to the shirt across my lower chest to act as a belt for holding the controller. With batteries in the holster pockets and my controller just above my stomach, all the weight is amazingly well distributed. I made the belt in two pieces, one attached to each side, and they are connected with sewn in hook stays. This way I can thread the strap through my mini LVAD pouch. I just ordered another shirt, and for my next go around I will make a new pouch and sew it to the elastic. This way the elastic can be just be one piece with no hook stays. I highly recommend this arrangement for LVAD patients.
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Sally B.

Hi Tom: Make a Video of what you did and post it. I made a You Tube video. Feel free to view it: LVAD living with Sally
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Jennifer C.

This is my first post on the forums as I just joined. Thank you so much for the info on how you are managing the controller. I am a daughter of an LVAD dad and I have found information regarding carrying the batteries and we have been using the concealed carry vest (ours is from 5-11 brand) and my dad loves it but we are still trying to figure out the best way to carry the controller. My dad has tried a waist pack (fanny pack type) but he feels like it slides down on him so were are looking for alternatives. My dad had his LVAD placed in Feb. 2016. I must say on this forum how proud I am of him and the whole LVAD community. I am so grateful for this forum and want to extend to all LVAD recipients how amazing and strong and pioneering you all are. You are modern heroes in the fight against Heart Failure. I love my dad so much and that love extends to this community. Stay strong on days that are tough and enjoy those days where you are feeling better. I can't tell you how much all your stories help. Thank you. It means the world to be able to talk and have support.
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In reply to by Jennifer C.

Richard B.

If you go on Etsy and search for LVAD Tee shirts, you'll come across several shirts. My favorite is the heartmate II Tee. Florence in Oceanside, CA has been working with me to make changes I request. I received my LVAD on February 2-3 of 2016 and my quality of life is great. There was also a message on this forum for a homemade vest which goes over a tee shirt and under your regular shirt. In response to a post from someone in England I gave info on how to get the pattern, but I don't remember the info or where to find it at the moment. That homemade one is the best I have, but only if you are in a cooler climate. In warmer weather the Etsy tee shirt is the best.
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Thomas M.

I found that the concealed carry shirt was too hot as things starting heating up here in Atlanta, so I designed an on-the-belt solution with a pouch for the controller in the middle with battery pouches on each side. Unlike the Heartware belt, mine has the battery pouches attached to the center controller pouch via a flexible elastic webbing. I use a nylon web belt and thread it through my belt loops when wearing around my waist. I pull the belt out and re-thread it just through the controller pouch for removing everything for restroom calls. It is very comfortable to wear and will probably be my final solution for living with a LVAD. I a new LVAD user, since early January this year, and also new to this forum. I don't know yet how to post pictures, but can do so if anyone is interested. My wife laughed when I bought a sewing machine to make it.
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Robert K.

Hi ,I found this site http://www.undertechundercover.com/. got three for 119.00. Fit is snug so get it one size larger than normal. Sizes small to 3xl. Cold water wash, hang up to dry dries quickly. These are made to hold a pistol, so you need to modify it to fit the batteries. I've had mine for 6 months, I find it easier than the bag or the harness, and easy to take care of.
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Chuck F.

I just found a great holder for the controller at Bed Bath and Beyond. It is made by Flip Belt, flipbelt.com . It is designed for carrying a cell phone, cards, keys, cash or whatever. However I found it works just fine with the controller. It is a 2-3 inch wide stretchable material like a large head band. It has two slots to hold devices. The larger slot fits the controller and it is out of the way and very comfortable. I am 34" in the waist and the medium size fits just fine. Thanks
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In reply to by Chuck F.

Mateo D.

Hi Chuck, My name is Mateo. This looks like a wonderful option. What do you do with the batteries. I've considered tactical shirts, but I'm a large man (XXL) and I find that the battery cables aren't long enough to slide in the holsters. Anyway. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon
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In reply to by Chuck F.

Mateo D.

Hey chuck. I got the flip belt. I don't understand how you got it to work. Which LVAD do you use because my Heartware controller can't fit. Thanks
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Lynn H.

I just looked up that belt on line and I'm going to get that for my grandson. Thanks for the info. And for anther option I have heard of people using a football girdle. My grandson didn't like it because he also has a aka. But it has three pockets and you wear it inside out. Get the one from under armour.
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In reply to by Lynn H.

Donna S.

They also carry a 5-pocket Underwear that is another option. They have a front middle pocket along with two additional pockets on the hips and two on the thighs. My husband likes to wear the batteries using the top hip pockets and puts the controller in the front pocket (not sure if it allows pump to 'breathe" or if safe for patient or controller). You can look on Amazon but I wound up paying a bit more and ordered them from Dick's Sporting Goods (assume any sports store should be able to help you). Hope this helps.
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Walter A.

Received Heartmate II on March 8th. I do not sew, so turned to commercially available attire. Two have worked for me. the Bosco vest and Raznick vest. Different styles, but both effective. I am leaning toward acquiring another Raznick vest which I really like. Both organizations will work with you for fitting and also will make custom changes. Both have available information, pricing, etc. at their websites. Just Google Bosco VD vest, or Raznick VAD vest. Googling VAD vests in general will give these two, plus others. You can then make your own decision as to whether they are what you are looking for.
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In reply to by Walter A.

Richard B.

I have 2 Boscos. they were the first vests that I bought,and I love them but rarely wear them anymore. Over time I found the Etsy LVAD Tee shirt and I've had Florence modify the design somewhat. The Etsy Tee shirts are tight to your body and go under your outer shirt so no one knows you have an LVAD.
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Romero L.

I've read about lots of people complaining about the extra weight of their LVAD. I totally sympathize. When I first got my LVAD i went with the shoulder bag and it left me with massive kinks in my neck. The Solution: I got some cargo shorts. I cut some small holes in the top of the cargo pockets closest to the center line. This way I put the controller into the "belt holder" they give you that you can run a belt through. Then I run the power lines over (to prevent pant sagging) the belt and down through the inside of the Cargo pants through the holes. Inside the Cargo pockets i place my batteries upside down and connect the power lines. Of course one battery in each pocket. There's about 4 inches of "give" so the battery lines are not strained. The batteries can actually slide down sideways on their own depending on the size of the cargo pockets. I love it because it shifts the weight of the LVAD to my lower body, which handles it well. I've had my LVAD since Jan 2014 and this has worked out GREAT. I wear it like this every single day and MOST people never see any hint that i'm even wearing an LVAD. Not to mention it feels so much more secure in that there's NO hitching of the power lines or driveline on anything. I've spoken to lots of people in waiting rooms that ask whether i'm worried about damaging the machine. I'm not because I've got two years of wear without a single issue. However, I will say that I believe the "accidental" YANK of a shoulder bag off your shoulder, PULLING your drive line is the easiest way in my mind to cause bleeding and infection. IMPORTANT Warning: One thing I'll say, is ALWAYS SIT to put the cargo shorts on. When you're standing and trying to lift your leg into the pants, if you fall over you could possibly snag your leg on the pants and really YANK your driveline. So sit down when sliding your pants on and off. I'm not savvy enough to figure out how to load a picture.
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Bryan H.

Hello all, I am sharing my experience with you, as we are all going through similar things. I have purchased a Rod Carew LVAD shirt that I absolutely love and thankful someone recommended it to me. https://carewmedicalwear.com/ I have went through a lot trying to wear my vad comfortably and unnoticeable. This has really solved my insecurity. I can highly recommend this lvad wear for anyone unable to find one that works, or if you're unsure of which one to purchase. This one holsters all my equipment and does not get in my way, as I have to work hard to lose some lbs to get on the list. If I am not wearing this, my cardiac rehab people do not let me get a good workout in, as they are worried about the vulnerability of my equipment in the hospital issued holster or side bag.
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Wolf L.

My name is wolf leuthner and my password is Berlin1944 How did that get mixed up? Please respond My email address is Wolf5521@bell.net
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Wolf L.

Sounds great. I too am a new (23/06/2017) heart wear patient and am trying to figure a more simpler, lighter way to live with the weight of batteries and controller. Any chance you could email a picture of your t shirt as I,m not quite visualizing what you have created. My phone number is 416-961-5544 in Toronto and my email address is wolf5521@bell.net Would you please contact me at your convenience Regards Wolf Leuthner
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Brenton L.

I'm Brent from LVAD Gear, and like everyone else I struggled with how to carry my LVAD. Since 2012 I've been designing, wearing, and selling solutions. Here is the link to the shirt we have made for carrying your LVAD. http://lvadgear.com/lvad-shirt.html. Below the shirt is the Waist pack we use as a solution to hold the HeartWare controller. Because of the size, weight, and cable configuration, Physical Therapists advised wearing the controller on the waist and the batteries on the shirt. The shirt is made to carry the HeartMate controller. LVAD Shirts are great for wearing your equipment under your clothes. For comfort, check out the Vest we make. It also conceals everything, but is worn over the clothes. This also works well with the HeartWare controller pack. Check it all out at www.lvadgear.com. Brent lvadgear@live.com
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In reply to by Carol D.

John S.

The Medi-Materials.com Freedom Undervest was designed to comfortably hold both Heartware and the HeartMate II & III LVAD systems. The controller pocket of the undervest was designed to easily carry all controller types. The inner battery pockets are also designed to carry all LVAD battery types, as well. What sets the Undervest apart from the rest is not only its versatility, but the design focus of reducing the risk of driveline infections and driveline fractures.
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Kay D.

I designed and made bag covers for women. Everyone thinks they are a purse. I had my lvad two years ago, had very few problems and couple of bleeds. I get shot of sandostatin lar which really helps every month. I make sure I don't overeat as this can cause pain in stomach. If you want to see bag email me kayskrafts@aol.com. When I went to hospital , I had five operations in one week, but as soon as they unhooked a few things, I walked and walked. That is the key don't stop moving. Have blessed day. Kay
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Pamala J.

We bought the men's compression lightweight tactile shirts in black. Also the new black stash bandz which has a large pocket is on Amazon. Its easy no sewing fits most lvads. Awesome alternative for no show comfort. The battery cords can be fished through the shirt area where batteries go. The lvad fits in the pocket and is great in front or the side. Stash bandz fit with no belt . I hope this helps. My husband has Heartware lvad. StashBandz Unisex Travel Money Belt, Running Belt, Fanny and Waist Pack, 4 Large Security Pockets and Zipper, Fits All Size Phones Passport and More, Extra Wide Spandex https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZS3DCC2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_.pTXAbP1XBMW0
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In reply to by Pamala J.

Carol D.

Check out...www.lvadshirt.com for Heartmate 2 and alike devices..........Check out www.Medi-Materials.com for Heartware Devices and other supplies (like a driveline protector)
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Carol D.

Please check out www.Medi-Materials.com. They have a wonderful shirt that I ordered for my Brother (actually bought 2) for his Heartware Device. We didn't like any of those vests. This shirt need to be ordered in a size or 2 larger than your actual size. Go onto their site and watch the video as to how it looks and works. Also for anyone who has a Heartmate 2/3 Check out www.lvadshirt.com for your device. Good Luck
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In reply to by Carol D.

John S.

The Freedom Undervest by Medi-Materials.com is designed to accommodate ALL LVAD systems. It works very nicely with the HeartMate devices. Our primary focus is protecting the driveline from both fractures and infections. Having all of the equipment, driveline and cables completely secured and concealed comfortably, achieves those goals. Check out our 'Frequently Asked Questions'at https://medi-materials.com/faq/ for more information. For those with other vests and LVAD shirts they love but may leave their driveline exposed, Medi-Materials.com has a wrap-around driveline protector called the Protex DL. The Protex DL is made of a highly cut-resistant fabric called Cut-Tex Pro. Using the Protex DL will greatly reduce the risk of damage to your driveline. We are committed to using the very best smart materials in our protects while keeping the costs as low as possible. LVADers have enough expenses to be concerned with and should not have to pay exorbitant prices for their LVAD equipment needs. Our Freedom Undervest is just $49.95. Since it's essentially an LVAD undergarment it is a good idea to have at least 3 or more. We'll refund the shipping charges on purchases of 3 or more (for the continental US only). We have been able to drastically reduce the price of the Protex DL to just $24.95. Medi-Materials.com now also ships to our friends in Canada and the UK. Please feel free to contact me here if you have any concerns or questions. Thank you, Lorac328!
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Janice H.

My husband purchased the LVAD t shirt from lvadgear.com. It is a very good shirt, fits snug and has battery pockets, drive line holders and washes very nicely. He also has the sleep belt which holds the drive line and cords quite nicely in place for bed time.
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Richard B.

where do you get the sleep belt and how does it work?
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In reply to by Richard B.

Brenton L.

You can get the sleeping belt at: https://lvadgear.com/product/lvad-sleeping-belt/ If this link doesn't work go to www.lvadgear.com and on the top you will see sleeping belt. There is the option for HeartMate or HeartWare LVADs. I am Brent from the LVAD Gear company and I designed it for myself and love it. I started sleeping better not having to carry my controller with me everytime I rolled over. It also took up my slack cord so the "Y" section didn't get hung up on the edge of the bed. Everything we do is 100% guaranteed, if you don't like it ship it back for a refund!
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John S.

I have been a Cardiac Perfusionist for almost 20 years. During the past 12 years, I have been involved with hundreds of LVAD procedures and have come to know and befriend very many LVADers. Over the years, I recommended many of the LVAD shirt and vest makers to my friends since the VAD manufacturer's bags and vests were so uncomfortable and inconvenient. After personally witnessing dozens of VAD exchanges due to driveline fractures and applying miles of Rescue tape, I decided to figure out a way of protecting our LVADers' drivelines. Honestly, I saw just how rough and STRESSFUL having an LVAD could be. I wanted to try to do something about that. This is where the idea for Medi-Materials began. The company began to take shape as valuable members of the team joined our efforts, top clothing designers and manufacturers as well as various suppliers and investors, all because they believed in what we were trying to do for the LVAD community. After a year of research and development the company debuted the Protex DL in February of 2017. All of our LVADers who wore our driveline protector immediately felt safer! Those who wore it that had pre-existing driveline damage reported no further damage to their drivelines. And those whose drivelines were in good condition, reported no driveline damage while using the driveline protector. One of our nurses loved the Protex DL but said, "We really need some way to stop driveline infections." We immediately began working on a method of reducing the likelihood of developing driveline infections. The result of this work is the Freedom Undervest. We call it this because we believe it will free you from some of the worries and stress of living this life with your LVAD by: 1. Getting rid of the VAD bag and the back and shoulder pain that comes with it. 2. Reducing risks of both driveline fractures, snags and infections. 3. Eliminating the need for the adhesive driveline anchors that irritate and damage your skin. 4. Giving you hands free mobility without concern for your equipment's safety and, 5. Doing all of this COMFORTABLY. We realized at the outset that keeping the prices as low as possible was critical since many LVADers have far too many expenses. Money issues can be a major source of stress. We believe we have struck a balance between offering high quality products and service at very reasonable prices. Visit our web store to find out more about us. www.Medi-Materials.com. You can also find us on Facebook (visit and 'like' our page!), Instagram and Youtube.
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In reply to by Joanne W.

Richard B.

if you go to www.etsy.com/search?q=lvad you can see pictures of the shirts.  After the first couple, I had them raise the battery holder pockets all the way up to the shoulder seam because I am 5'8" with a relatively short trunk.  That kept the batteries from interfering with tucking the shirt into my pants.  I also had them slightly raise the controller pocket (and at an angle) to above my gut.  I also had them remove the Velcro from the top of the battery holders and the controller pocket since the Velcro was more of a problem and I didn't have a problem with anything falling out. 

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In reply to by Joanne W.

Richard B.

if you go to www.etsy.com/search?q=lvad you can see pictures of the shirts.  After the first couple, I had them raise the battery holder pockets all the way up to the shoulder seam because I am 5'8" with a relatively short trunk.  That kept the batteries from interfering with tucking the shirt into my pants.  I also had them slightly raise the controller pocket (and at an angle) to above my gut.  I also had them remove the Velcro from the top of the battery holders and the controller pocket since the Velcro was more of a problem and I didn't have a problem with anything falling out. 

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In reply to by Joanne W.

Richard B.

if you go to www.etsy.com/search?q=lvad you can see pictures of the shirts.  After the first couple, I had them raise the battery holder pockets all the way up to the shoulder seam because I am 5'8" with a relatively short trunk.  That kept the batteries from interfering with tucking the shirt into my pants.  I also had them slightly raise the controller pocket (and at an angle) to above my gut.  I also had them remove the Velcro from the top of the battery holders and the controller pocket since the Velcro was more of a problem and I didn't have a problem with anything falling out.