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Cat S. Caregiver

Where are the recent posts, I am scared!!

Hi, hello, good afternoon! My husband is jumping through the hoops to get qualified for the Heartmate II. We're just about done and meeting with the LVAD surgeon in just a week. I don't see many recent posts and it concerns me dearly. My husband is not a bridge to transplant due to his age (73) and it seems that many of the older posts that I have read talks about all the complications and in some instances (death) rather than the situations where the LVAD has given the recipient a quality of life and it's been beneficial. Is there anyone that can share with me something good that has resulted in the LVAD surgery? I am scared!
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Linda H.

My 57 y/o husband had the Heartware LVAD implanted on February 10th. He was released from the hospital day 10 post VAD. though the actual pump seems to be doing well and no alarms etcetera,  all he wants to do is sleep. In the last 24 hours he has slept 20 hours! I also cannot get him to motivate to do much moving around when he is awake. Can anyone tell me if this has been their experience?

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In reply to by Linda H.

Greg B.

Hi Linda!

Wow, being discharged 10 days post VAD seems really quick! I was in the hospital for ~30 days and it was probably another week after discharge when I really started getting my energy back. And I was 37yrs old when I got mine ~2yrs ago!! I was in pretty rough shape going in though...but after recovery I felt like a new person!!

Everyone is different obviously, but I do think your husband's body is still recovering, which takes a lot of energy and rest is a good thing!!

If you do have any concerns do not hesitate to reach out to your transplant team, they are usually happy to answer questions and have seen many different cases.

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In reply to by Linda H.

Larry B.

I was also discharged 10 days after receiving my HM3. The body takes a tremendous beating from the operation and the stay in the hospital along with any pain relievers they may have prescribed. It pretty much took me a month before I wanted to get out of my chair and during that stretch I dozed off and on all day and night. Finally I was able to get up and start walking around the house. I had a route mapped out from my chair to the dining room, dining room to kitchen, kitchen to down the hallway, hallway to front bedroom and then back to my chair. That was a major accomplishment when I could do it all without stopping. When I could do it 10 times without stopping we moved outside! First time out I only made it about 50 feet before turning around and going back to my chair. I was 66 and now I’m 71. We all react differently but to still want to sleep is normal. But, within 4 months of being implanted I was back to playing golf twice a week. I do everything I used to except swim. Small price to pay. I’m surprised your team didn’t advise you about 5he recuperation period but he sounds normal to me. He’s beat, weak and exhausted. 

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Reiss T.

If my understanding is correct, there is a set insurance reimbursement amount for any particular procedure such as an LVAD implant. It is to the hospital's financial advantage to discharge your sooner rather than later if it is deemed medically safe to do so. I have heard that their break even for an LVAD is around 21 days. If you stay longer, they lose money, even if it is medically necessary. Each medical center will have its own protocols and methods and the doctors in charge ultimately decide. This is an oversimplification but if they can safely discharge you in ten days it's potentially to their advantage.  

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Jackie W.

My 76 yr. old husband has just been told about L-VAD surgery from his cardiologist.  I'm very concerned about the quality of life after and even if he would survive the surgery.  He's been on insulin for 10 years, has always had asthma, and has Parkinson's.  He had a triple bi-pass in 1998 and gastric bi-pass 5 years ago.  He has an enlarged heart and EF is 22.  I would love to hear from people close to his age that have gotten the L-VAD.  I'm so scared about all of this! 

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scott s.

I was 61 when my lvad was done.  Wouldn't trade it for anything.  I had been taken to Duke more dead than alive a couple times.  Before lvad I would walk about 5 or 6 steps and be totally exhausted.  I also am not a bridge to transplant.  Organs won't support it.  I had no fear problems as I was so close to being dead or shutting down in cardiac arrest enough times that the question became what was going to stop me from okaying surgery?  A fear of dying?  I chose to face it rather than hide under the bed and wait for it.  Mind is dead, just waiting for the body to catch up isn't living.

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Ronald H.

Hi, my name is Ron. I am 67 years old. I just had the LVAD procedure done on 6/1/21. I am doing great, and now living on my own, independently. I am driving, shopping, appointments ....etc. My life has changed dramatically, mostly positive. The recovery is tough, but if you put in the work with Physical Therapy, it goes relatively fast. I must say, with all I have said in the positive, the negatives are there also. I do not live as I did before. Don't just jump up and be off. The equipment takes some getting used to, especially showering. I have my processes which I go thru in regards to taking care of myself and my body. I have gone from an E.F. of 10-15, and increased 25%. My life expectancy, well lets say, as I am now, I should outlive that by a considerable number. I am writing to encourage those that are questioning whether to do or not. Your call, but I highly recommend this procedure. Todays LVAD equipment, especially the pump is top shelf. I have Heartmate III, and I am very happy with the outcome. Be Well, Be Safe, Ron

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In reply to by Thomas T.

scott s.

I change my own dressing.  I learned how at Duke.  My son and daughter in law did the  daily dressing for a few weeks but as I got stronger I started doing my own.  I learned and I am glad I did.  I used to do it in front of mirror until I got comfortable.  Nurse practitioners at lvad clinic showed me a few things.  Taking off old bandage is difficult.  7 day bandage is easier to change but a little more painful to remove.  need to shave area from time to time.  It is hard at first but it gets easier.

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In reply to by Mercedes S.

Dick T.

I've had my lvad since December 4, 2019. My wife originally changed my dressing but i wanted to do it myself. Learning to put on the sterile gloves was the hardest part. Ive been changing my own dressing for about a year now with no complications. 

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In reply to by Thomas T.

William A.

I do them for him. I am his wife Rosa. Don't be scared. You are alive. Just do your best to get better. Walk ,eat well, take your meds properly and be as happy as you can.

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scott s.

I embraced the lvad as a necessary change in my life.  After 20 plus years of heart failure when this was presented as an option to stay alive I took it.  The time for fear had long since passed.   After years of dealing with it what was to stop me frm living life?  A fear of dying?