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Nancy G. Recipient

I just got an LVAD

Was in Hospital 4 months, after LVAD, doing  OK but walking is very hard yet, how long dose it take to walk again ?

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Thomas M.

You are not going to like my answer, but it takes as long as it takes.  Everyone is different.  I was up and walking within a couple of days and home in 2 weeks.  But, this is not the usual length of time for recovery.  Some people are in the hospital for 2 months after surgery.  I know patience is difficult, but it is also important.  

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In reply to by Thomas M.


I was out in 12 days from surgery, spent 12 days in physical rehab learning how to walk, get it of bed, bathe, etc. with no help. Been home 2 months now, walking is ok, and gets easier daily.


what you just went through his major major major surgery have no doubt about that. It's a big deal and it will take time to recover my doctors told me six months before I'm back to " normal "

The trick is when you go for a walk knowing when you've reached your halfway point cuz you still got to walk back to where you started. Each time you go for a walk try to walk just a little bit further. It's about building stamina it's not about how far can I walk today it's about how much stamina can I build up over the next 30 days. So by now you probably know how far you can walk before you need to sit down,c so divide it in half take off 10% and walk that far then walk back. each time walk a little bit further before you turn around. It's okay to have someone bring a chair and when you get as far as you can go sit down but it's really not a good idea to walk as far as you can walk because then you'll be exhausted for the rest of the day it's not a Sprint it's a marathon


what you do not want to do is exhaust yourself one walk it's better to take numerous short if you are like me you want to walk as far as you can walk to prove you're getting better but that doesn't work. It just exhausted and you ruined for the rest of the day.

Multiple short walks build stamina better than one long one

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Reiss T.

Same with me as Thomas M. It depends on many veriables such as age, general condition, weight, other health issues, etc. Are you in physical therapy and are you exercising on your own? Being as active as possible, without over doing is, is essential to recovery and a positive long term outcome. Understand that is is just my opinion and not qualified medical advice. 

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MIke S.

Your weakness is probably due to your long hospital stay, not your LVAD. If you lay in bed most of that time, your muscles have atrophied and you'll need to build them up again. The best thing to do is to walk as much as you can each day. You will slowly get stronger. Physical therapy or rehab will also do it, but the key is lots of walking.

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Larry B.

4 months in the hospital is going to leave you weak regardless! I was only in for ten days when I got my vad but I was still very weak when I got home. After a couple of days of getting my bearings I started walking indoors. The first day I could only make one trip from the LR to the DR to the Guest BR and down the hallway and back to the LR. It took me a couple of weeks to work myself up to 10 reps every morning. When I got there I took it outside  and started it out with short walks.

It does come around. Just gonna take time. After 4 months I was playing golf again and walking two miles a day without breaking a sweat or being short of breath.

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Isaac J.

Hi Nancy, I agree with Mike. It will take time but continue walking. I guess that I was lucky. I was in the hospital for nearly a month after the LVAD. But I was back at work ("I had a desk job") 60 days after my LVAD. I got my LVAD in December of 2014 and I am still doing well. My prayers are with you.

Isaac Jones

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Frank I.

This is interesting to me, though perhaps from a different perspective.  I received my LVAD last December from a hospital system that provided wireless heart cardio patients  during there hospital stay.  I remember walking by the "communication' room as I exercised before my surgery. So, even though it was very difficult a few days after surgery I was encouraged to walk as much as possible a few days into recovery.  I was very strong just prior to surgery, so I had that going for me.  Unfortunately, in regard to the wireless monitor any ways , the LVAD/Heart Transplant Center I was was being treated by just unexpectedly closed.  The new facility I am hopeful to receive a heart from does not have wireless heart monitoring for the most part.  So, when that happens, it appears I will be tethered to the bed area.  

There has to be value in walking as soon as possible.... I would think.

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Dean F.

It took me a while. I was in the hospital for 42 days with my LVAD. When I got home I would have to stand up and wait before I could walk. At 6 months they took me in and did some adjustments on my RPM’s and meds. 

After that I was able to walk more but for me my EF was only around 10. 

Like others have said everyone is different. I know some people who were up and going right after. I know some people have even ran marathons. 

Take your time listen to your body. 

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Debra K.

Walking is great exercise.  However, what to do if you cant due to joint pain, wear & tear from lvad battery weight. I've tried cross body purses, lvad shirts & vests, Fanny packs... can't regain strength and muscle if doctors won't repair worn out body parts if you have an lvad! I'm not excited about my future. I feel I have life but not quality of life. 

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In reply to by Debra K.

Annette l.

Hi debra, I feel the exact same way. I just pray that it will get better with  more time. Have had my vad for 5 months already.

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In reply to by Annette l.

Debra K.

Hi Annette,

Hope you're doing well and continue to do so. I've had my Heartmate II since April 1st, 2016. I've lost a great deal over the years. I'm no stranger to loss. When you lose the ability to get mobile, I think it's time for a doctor to step in and see that it's fixed. Sure there's always risks, but who says you must lose the right to medical care. Thought that was my choice. Just saying.

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In reply to by Annette l.

Debra K.

Hi Annette,

Hope you're doing well and continue to do so. I've had my Heartmate II since April 1st, 2016. I've lost a great deal over the years. I'm no stranger to loss. When you lose the ability to get mobile, I think it's time for a doctor to step in and see that it's fixed. Sure there's always risks, but who says you must lose the right to medical care. Thought that was my choice. Just saying.

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In reply to by Annette l.

Bill N.

   Hi Annette, my name is Bill and I have a Heart Mate ll, I've had it for 3yrs.. I went through the process the same way. I had to take my time and slowly came back. I now go through the day with a little caution and I rest when I get a chance. Always take your time, it will get better and easier with time. You take care of yourself and when you feel something feels wrong ,call your lvad and tell them; they will help you. You take care and Peace be with you.

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Richard B.

i WAS 4 days out of it in ICU than 2 1/2 weeks in hospital.  They had me up and walking in days after I got out of ICU.  Because the hospital was 5 hours from home, they had me stay locally for a month.  the instructions were walk, walk, walk, but do nothing else.  And I walked all over mid-town Manhattan. I started using a cane for stability.  I still use one out doors just in case.  When I got home I started cardiac rehab which also helped.  You'll get there, but remember to keep pushing yourself and don't hesitate to contact your LVAD contact for any little thing.  They've almost become like family to me.   I'm now back to traveling the world, and I've discovered riverboat tours are great because I don't have to move my medical equipment as much.

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Elizabeth S.

It took me three years to really feel like I am walking good. It was my own fault. I sat in my recliner way too much. Going down stairs was the worst.


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Cindy R.

Hello, You will not like my answer either :). It took me 3 months before I could walk normally, and took over 6 months for me to feel as great as I do now. One day you will think....I feel so much better!!! I promise it will come, so try to be patient and let loved ones help you. You will be helping them back in a short amount of time. Best Wishes!!
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Linh G.

Hang in there, My husband was in the hospital for 5 months and he still not walking as well.

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Kathy K.

My husband has had his LVAD for a month now and still does not want to eat. Poor nutrition is causing additional complications. We were not anticipating this problem, but is this something other LVAD patients experience? 

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Yvonne O.

I got my Lvad and released from hospital 10 days later. I agree with another post about your muscles atrophying. If you are sitting in a chair, try to at least lift your legs up and down and side to side. I am 7 weeks post-op and am walking pretty good. This was my third sternonomy and I still get sore but the 7th week(to the day) felt like my turning point. I had severe CHF so being able to walk without being out of breath is quite unusual. I am 51 and tiny and just  move every single day. At night, I'm still really exhausted but that is normal for this surgery. I wish you all the best!

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Paul H.

Not sure where you received you lvad.  Mine was in Denver. 

They put alarms on bed to keep you there regardless of your ability to walk or stand. I was on my back 23 hours a day beginning to end.  I will not go back into hospital again if bed has alarms.  

Here is something that healed me emotionally   Get up every morning  dress in normal street clothes and shoes, do your personal hygiene first thing   

Rehab is easier mentally f your not shuffling around halls or gym looking sick like others who don’t get ready for the day   Also impresses those who decide your ready to leave  

work hard, ask to go on several walks a day, be very polite to nurses and cna’s  

if your in process to get one don’t feel sorry for yourself 

you all remember isometric exercise?  I scooted down bed so feet were pressing on footboard and pressed   This flexed legs and tummy muscles  not much you can do with arms early on   That I could find 

oh one last thing,   I dislike the batteries and holders especially when exercising  

I bought from amazon a leather shoulder messenger bag for batteries   Feels better and looks better  


good luck and fast healing  folks   At 71 I’m ready to ride my indian through Colorado mountains