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Cindy R. Recipient

BioPatch protective disk with CHG

I have had an LVAD for 8 years. The new daily cleaning of my driveline is a pre-packaged kit, which includes an effective infection prevention disk called biopatch. Because of skin issues, I am unable to use them. Every day I have a new disk to add, and have a good-sized bag now. They are packaged and sterile with expiration dates. Due to our strict medical laws, hospitals are unable to take them. I am not sure if the law would prevent me from mailing these disks to someone who needs and can use them. No money involved. I don't want to break any laws, but my only alternative is to send them to Project C.U.R.E for use overseas. I know people in our great country can use them, and would prefer to keep them in the US if possible. Any advice or interest, please reply.
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Mariza M.

Hi, congratulations! It´s very important for me to hear from someone having such a long experience living with an LVAD. I implanted mine in August 15, and had so many problems in the 1rst year and half, due to gut bleeding. Concerning the dressing, I am still doing it in a daily basis due to serosal secretion . Here in Brazil we have very few access to dressings options and I am quite allergic too and was not able to use the Opside, that is the only one sold here. I´ve been using the cleaning with 0.5% alcoholic chorexidine and the dressing Primapore, that I have to buy in US. I´ve never heard anything about this infection prevention disk, called biopatch. I have two members of our LVAD group in Rio de Janeiro that experienced problems of driveline infection and are on antibiotics. I´ll ask the LVAD team here if they know and/or have experience with this biopatch. As a hot city, the problems with infection seems to be more frequent due to the sweat. Thanks for your offer, but it is too complicated to send this type of material here. Do you have more details of this product, such as company, for example? Sincerely Mariza
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In reply to by Mariza M.

Cindy R.

Hello Mariza, Thank you for your response. Although I have lived 8 years with an LVAD, I have had infections as well. I was almost on hospice because of a horrible infection, resulting in the complete removal and replacement of my LVAD. Infection, as you know is the worst. I was slack at times with my daily cleaning, but will not be making that mistake again. The Biopatch is made by Ethicon. It is a round disk with a slit on one side, and has the perfect amount of space for your driveline, placed directly on skin. I wish you the very best, and please do not do what I did and not change your dressing every single day.
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Mariza M.

As a Long term LVAD user, are you currently driving? I started driving this year, but my physician was insecure about that due to the airbag risk in the case of accident. Any input on that?
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In reply to by Mariza M.

Cindy R.

I was not allowed to drive for 3 months after implant due to the airbag. Since then, I have been driving anywhere I want. My family was concerned with me driving the grandkids around because of my LVAD in an emergency. It did bother me quite a bit, but everyone has to do what they have to. I would recommend that you put the seat back as far as you can safely drive, as the airbag can hurt you. Life is a risk, and way too short for you not to do what you want.
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Brian L.

Our doctors here (Duke) only require that you refrain from driving until the sternum sutures or staples have been removed and properly healed. I believe that was about eight weeks after surgery for me. Putting the airbag back might not be a good practice. I used to work for a University Biomechanics Lab that specialized in automobile crash safety. While I am not a biomechanic, I did read and/or edit a lot of their research publications and learned that you don't want to sit back away from the airbag. (Just as I learned before many to hold your hands at 4 and 8 instead of 10 and 2, like we were taught as kids. The reason for that change - holding them at 10 and 2 makes your forearms susceptible to getting broken when the air bag deploys.)The seatbelt and airbag combination is intended to work so that your body is only required to endure one forward impact. Thus, you should sit such that you are in front of the bag with your arms bent at the elbows for optimal distance. Otherwise, you risk being thrown for a jolt by the seat belt and, as that releases, a second jolt from the airbag. The airbag is supposed to help with the initial impact of the seat belt, which, in the days before seatbelts, often caused serious rib damage in certain high impact accidents. Research shows that the risk of aortic dissection from seat belt only impact is greatly decreased by the airbag and belt working in tandem. Unfortunately, there is no research of which I am aware on how this might impact on an LVAD, but I would think that the principle is similar. I know that I counsel my wife (who was afraid to sit too close to the steering wheel because she is rather well endowed) now sits no more than 10-12 inches from the steering wheel. I do the same, eventhough I understand that I am a little more frail with an LVAD. Hope that helps. If anyone out there in the biomechanic world has more recent information, I would love to hear it. Brian in NC
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Maurice S.

Never heard of this! Can you tell me more about what it does and how it works?? we already have MRSA, could this help??
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In reply to by Maurice S.

William M.

As mentioned above, BioPatch is made by Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The BioPatch is an antimicrobial foam disk that is designed to be placed directly against the skin, 360 degrees around an intravenous catheter and/or an LVAD drive line. It administers chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), via time-release, in order to help prevent the colonization of microbes at the insertion site that could cause infection. Unfortunately, if you already have infection in the bloodstream, the BioPatch cannot remove it. That can only be done through the administration of antibiotics. But the BioPatch is a great product and can help to prevent further infections from being introduced at the insertion site. I hope this helps!
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Richard B.

I put my charger and my ground station in 2 carry on hard sided suitcases. I use my dressings and cloths as packing. I make sure that I have the hospital letter on doing pat downs rather than going through security electronics. When I tell security that they have to do a pat down and that I can't go through the electronics, in the US they have been very good about it and not asked for the letter. In Doha, Qatar recently, they did and quibbled about the fact that the letter was signed by a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor, but eventually did the pat down. The only real problem I have ever had was on a smallish American Airlines flight where flight attendant Brian was insistent that the 2 suitcases could not be in the cabin. I wrote the president of American Airlines about the incident and got a letter from a flunky saying my letter had been put in an appropriate file (presumably round and found under her desk). Especially on some of our longer international flights, the flight attendants have been great and a number of them are fascinated by my LVAD and its stuff. Nobodies been upset when my low battery alarm has gone off in the air and I always have my backup batteries in my carry on backpack.
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Richard B.

And when I travel by air, I carry my controller and batteries in an external vest so everyone can see it. It's a lot easier to go through security that way.