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Lissa N. Family Member

Best type of blood pressure monitor

Hello, we are new to the VAD community. My husband received his VAD (Heartmate III pump) on August 5th. We live in a small town located 5 miles away from a much larger city, and 24 different home health care agencies refused to provide home health care services (blood draws for lab work) because we live outside of their boundary area or they were experiencing staffing shortages.

Our hospital signed us up for remote home care monitoring. A blood pressure reading (watching for trends) is one the categories being monitored. I know it's much harder to get a BP reading for a VAD patient because I witnessed it with the nurses while my hubby was still hospitalized.

We have an automatic cuff purchased in 2013 from a Walgreens Drug Store. I'm considering buying a new automatic cuff. I've seen models that obviously look more high tech, but if I'm going to spend the money, it would be wonderful to have some reassurance it will work with a VAD.  If you have experience with BP cuffs that anyone can purchase (over the counter, or via the Internet) I would appreciate any advice! Thank you in advance! 

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Cindy G.

We were sent home from the hospital with a blood pressure kit (doppler monitor) provided by ActiCare.  We take his blood pressure each morning and he logs in to ActiCare and reports all of his numbers.

Cindy Glenn

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Shafiq r.

I am in Scotland. Husband has recently had heartmate111 and discharged home. We were not asked to check blood pressure at all only INR (warfarin levels) and was given a Kit to do this himself. He was at another hospital recently and the nurse took BP but couldn't get it. My understanding is it is a continuous circuit of blood so there would not be much of a pulse. The two things we were told that would kill him would be blood clots or infection in the drive line. Never any mention of taking a blood pressure. I am unsure how one gets a blood "pressure" with an LVAD as it is set at a continuous rpm
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In reply to by Shafiq r.

Bernita D.

My husband just received his LVAD a month ago and the hospital sent him home with home care. The nurses will come everyday for 2 weeks to take his map, do his dressing change and temperature. After that I’m on my own. The only supplies they sent us were dressing change kits, no Doppler to continue taking his BP; however he does have to go in to clinic once a week for follow up. This has been life changing for us, but by the Grace of God, we’ll make it. I’m thankful that he had the surgery because it saved his life. I just have to adjust to all these life changes.

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In reply to by Shafiq r.

Maureen R.

I am in England, my husband does not have to check his BP only INR . I think things are different in USA where many of the LVAD Community are from. My husband has had his heart mate 111 for 3 years almost now
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Pam J.

We were also provided a Doppler type cuff upon discharge. A regular cuff most likely will not work. Best wishes. 

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In reply to by Pam J.

Juanita P.

Pam that is so nice that your hospital provided a doppler type device for readings.  While I was in the hospital, they would do regular bp and doppler to compare...Not sure why they were killing time....The aide would come in and take regular, no clue, and then the nurse would come in with doppler.  I just laughed and said help yourself.  Whatever works.  Oh by the way, I've been an LVAD patient for almost 3 years.  Heartmate II. Knock on wood, no problems to date, just sore shoulders and neck.  

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Juanita P.

You can get a Bp with regular cuff and stethoscope.  The first bump/beep you hear or see,  diastolic pressure, the bottom number.  Which is what they are looking for.  That takes practice on taking bp's though.  But they are not hard to do once get hang of it.  There are times though while at the Dr's office they do get a reading from  me with a regular cuff.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  Normally, they do.  All the doctor's don't use a doppler. Some nurses are "green"  with the doppler or their office don't even have one.    I was a volunteer EMT so that did help me....In my other life.  I would just say get familiarized with bp's/pulse ox etc...the educated/informed patient is the best patient. Empower and educate yourself on what it's all about.  I hope my input was helpful.  And try not to stress too much!! Your new with the LVAD and there is so much to take in and absorb.   However, you will eventually get it, this too is a process.  

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Jerry M.

I go to Seton which is in the same City with Abbot (Austin, Texas) who owns the Heartmate. They do not provide blood pressure monitors. In fact my nurse Cordinator got information from my insurance company to try and find me a doppler since I wanted one but she quit trying after three  Companys said they didn't have them. I had to look them up on ebay and buy one. The Cordinators here don't do much for you if it seems extra. The hospital works them to the bone and your lucky to have one at all.

I thought t should be better than this but I guess not.

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In reply to by Jerry M.

Lissa N.

Thank you for the note. We are blessed to have a wonderful VAD coordinator, but I realize not everyone may be so lucky. We will keep trying to figure out the best approach to taking a blood pressure reading at home. 

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Priscilla H.

I was shipped a ultrasound machine, cuff, and gel shortly upon arriving home after my implant.  However, my VAD coordinator says it wasn't really necessary to check. I find it very difficult to find the beat anyway, but I do try. Last month was my 2 year anniversary......Thank God for medical miracles😊

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In reply to by Priscilla H.

Khalid K.

I guess this varies across doctors. I was told that its important to keep the MAP in a range - a high value could increase chance of stroke. The doctors would adjust the BP meds based on MAP.  Once the dose was adjusted the MAP stayed in range. We were over 12 hours from the nearest center so we had to do the monitoring.

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In reply to by Khalid K.

Juanita P.

Well now that makes sense, 12 hrs. away from hospital as well.  Should always have #'s consistent and never two digits..."like l0."  usually mine run 5.5 in that area...there are situations the PI will run 7.0 for a second then drop down...staying there is the issue.  The monitoring only gives you peace of mind and something to report to Dr's as well.  However, when you get to the office they will hook you up and look at past #s.  You can also push two of your buttons on controller that will give last 3 days or#'s.  I don't mess with it.  Thankful no alarms and so far so good, 3 years later.  Looking forward to the day to get it out of here..

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Khalid K.

In our case, I also got the monitoring unit that they have at the center. I got the training, so I used to get the data and upload it to the center for analysis. It takes a few weeks to figure out how flows vary - and you learn not to keep looking all the time :-)