Profile picture for user arthurcanga
Arthur c. Family Member

Shower Protection

Hi Everyone,

My name is Arthur Canga, I'm from Brazil. My dad got the heartmate 3  this past July and i would like to get a few tips or some suggestions to protect his driveline during the shower. What kind of bandage is more secure to avoid his driveline of getting wet? He is starting to get some bacteria infection on the exit of his driveline and i know that bacteria loves water. We are trying various types of waterproof bandage , but always get little bit wet after the shower. 

Thanks

 

Arthur Canga

Profile picture for user jody0310
Jody H.

for my boyfriend we use the 'press & seal' saran wrap - we put it over the bandage & secure with waterproof tape....It works pretty good for us

Profile picture for user shortstp78

In reply to by Jody H.

Juanita P.

That is the same thing I do, use press and seal over the aqua-guard, 7x7.  Also I use a handheld shower head to control where the water is going.  I don't allow the water, of course, to hit at the site,    

Profile picture for user Hope W
Hope W.

Hello,

I've had an lvad for a little over a year. When I shower my husband applies a large Tegaderm (8×12 - product number 1629) over the dressing. The driveline is moved so that it faces down. After the shower the dressing is changed. So far we have had no leakage or infections of any kind.

At first I found these on Amazon but was able to order them to come with my other driveline supplies.

Profile picture for user Lgb0250
Larry B.

Have had my HM3 for 3.5 years now. I take a shower every morning. I use two tegaderm. One 6x8 and one 4x4. I also use one of the 4x4 gauze pad.

I unfold the 4x4 gauze and use two small pieces of tape to tape it over my dressing. This makes it much easier to take off with tugging on the dressing itself. I then tape the 6x8 over this starting at the left edge (as looking at it in the mirror). Then I overlap the edge of it by at least an inch with the 4x4. This ends up covering everything including the anchor. When done showering just remove and discard. Unless it gets wet while showering I don’t change the dressing until normal change day. Gift yourself a little overlap all the way around and make sure to press firmly where the 4x4 overlaps the 6x8.

i shower every morning and in over 3 years my dressing has not gotten wet a handful of times and they were all operator error. It’s been at least a year since my dressing has gotten wet.

Profile picture for user denman94987
Dennis S.

My wife has an LVAD and when she showers we simply remove the dressing. We don’t cover the driveline entry wound at all. This is with the blessing of the LVAD team at CPMC in SF. The only caveat is don’t aim the water directly at the wound. This is working out very well and she is showering every other day. 

Profile picture for user Boulady

In reply to by Dennis S.

Pam J.

Dennis S., my husband is the LVAD patient and he (we) were taught by his LVAD team to shower the same way, without any dressing.  He was taught to have his back to the shower stream, start at his head, and work his way down, using only antibacterial liquid soap at his driveline, regular soap everywhere else.  Of course he pats dry near but not over his driveline and I apply his bandage afterwards which includes using sterile gauze to  clean with an antibacterial liquid, rinse with sterile saline, pat dry with more sterile gauze, apply a small dap of antibacterial ointment,  cover with the “pants” (slit) pad, and finally  two squares of gauze on top.  He’s had zero issues in 2 1/2 years.  I’m shocked at how many people cover their driveline and entry instead of washing daily.  Continued health and success to you! 

Profile picture for user Mariza
Mariza M.

Hi Arthur, I am also from RJ, Brazil, and I have had my HM2 for 4.5 years now. I use the plastic side of the gauze packing to cover the dressing ( generally 2) fixed with Micropore. Over that I put a piece of plastic film, also fixed with Micropore. It works quite well to avoid wetting the dressing during bath.

Hope it works well for your father

Profile picture for user rshooker@hotmail.com
Ray H.

My shower protection is not showering.  I have been over two years with my LVAD and have bathed daily using ReadyBath wipes like those they use in the hospital.  I use a rinse free shampoo for my hair.  My LVAD Coordinator Nurse would not be forced to admit it, but has stated that she likes the fact that I do not shower, since driveline infections are the number one killer of LVAD patients.  There are several others in my LVAD Support Group who do not shower and we all swear by it--one less worry!

Profile picture for user denman94987

In reply to by Ray H.

Dennis S.

My wife has had a Heart Mate 3 since September and everything is going very well. She showers every other day but we change the dressing daily. As directed by our LVAD team, we don’t cover the exit wound at all. She avoids any water going directly toward the exit wound but water does flow over it (we don’t towel dry around the exit wound-let it air dry). Again this is with the concurrence of our medical team. So far we have had no problems (maybe we’ve been lucky but I don’t think so) and I immediately dress her wound with antiseptic swabs after the shower. This has worked well for us and showering certainly is a worrisome issue. Hope this helps.  

Profile picture for user Lgb0250

In reply to by Ray H.

Larry B.

Driveline infections are our number one cause of death. But, not from showers for sure. From trauma to the driveline, not showering. I’ve been taking at least one shower a day for over three years now and have never had a problem. I always like to research facts before jumping to conclusions.

Profile picture for user rshooker@hotmail.com

In reply to by Larry B.

Ray H.

Sorry, I was trying to provide an alternative.  My only scientific evidence is a comparative as to why we use sterile water in prepping the site for a dressing change.  I always felt that they wanted us to use sterile water in place of tap water for cleansing the area.  Rather than take the chance of tap water getting to the site because I fumbled the application of saran wrap, I choose to use the ReadyBath cloths they use in the hospital.  Please continue with what works for you.

Profile picture for user stlouiewoman
Maryann C.

Hi,

My husband has had his Heartmate2 since 2015. I'm a nurse and we have devised this method which is very satisfying for him and has maintained  the integrity of the dressing.

He covers the honeycomb dressing with a 4x4 or just a Kleenex.  You can use a bit of Scotch tape to keep it place.  We order 8x8 or 8x10 pieces of Tegaderm from medical supply where he obtains all his other VAD supplies.  He covers the entire sterile dressing which is covered with gauze with one or two sheets of Tegaderm.  He puts his batteries etc into the shower bag and showers.  After he's done the tegaderm cover can be peeled off and the honeycomb dressing will remain.

Medicare pays for the Tegaderm.  If you would like pictures we can send.  This is actually easy and the water can run all over your body and will not get under the outer dressing.  

Profile picture for user cm52802
chris m.

I take a full shower at least once a week but on other days I will wash my hair in the sink and either sink wash down or get in the shower but keep the water away from my driveline.  I also found that swam warp usually works well. Make sure it's tight 

for metal detectors I have a card stating what I have and no metal detector. I show and demand a hand pat . Sometimes they will use award on the lower part of the body. Most wands do not have enough power to interfere but I still don't like to chance it 

also I buy a concealed belly band gun holster and modify it. Flip it upside down. One holds the controller and the next compartment holds a battery then on the other side I use velco  to hold the other battery and Velcro to hold the cables.   Then I modify a pair of suspenders to help hold it up.  Most people don't even know I have an LVAD plus is secured comfortable.  My doctor is always telling me to sell them.     He is amazed at it 

I've have my LVAD since 10-17

 

Profile picture for user Maria

In reply to by chris m.

Maria S.

Hi Chris M

Was very interested reading about the concealed belly band. Are you able to tell me more a about it, what brand and where they are available. My husband had an LVAD implanted 08/19 and still hasn't found anything that he is comfortable with. I am quite handy with a sewing machine and would like very much to give the belly band a try. Thanking you in anticipation.

 

Profile picture for user Susang

In reply to by chris m.

Barry and Susan (caregiver) S.

My husband Has had his Heart Mate II for four years. We have used fishing vest and of course the battery shoulder strap bag and in both cases they tend to get uncomfortable. It would be interesting to try your method of carrying your batteries. ( The belly band gun holster). Could you be so kind to send a picture or perhaps tell us where you purchased it.

thank you Susan and Barry Schaller.

Profile picture for user Susang

In reply to by chris m.

Barry and Susan (caregiver) S.

My husband Has had his Heart Mate II for four years. We have used fishing vest and of course the battery shoulder strap bag and in both cases they tend to get uncomfortable. It would be interesting to try your method of carrying your batteries. ( The belly band gun holster). Could you be so kind to send a picture or perhaps tell us where you purchased it.

thank you Susan and Barry Schaller.

Profile picture for user shortstp78

In reply to by Barry and Susa…

Juanita P.

Not only is the bag's strap very, very uncomfortable, it tends to come undone on one side of the strap...I have sent back at least 3 of them to date because out of nowhere, it came unhooked.  Very dangerous and I"m so glad i was quick enough to catch it rather than dangling down pulling the driveline out.  I have suggested to them to make something a little different/and of safe measure; however, again get back to dollars and change and the HM2 is now an antique!  

Profile picture for user Mariza

In reply to by Noma L.

Mariza M.

Hi Noma I’ve been using the lvadshirt in the last three years and it’s very comfortable. It is a kind of t-shirt with lateral pockets for the batteries. You can put over a coat or a large blouse and it’s okay to hide the batteries. Hope have helped you Mariza
Profile picture for user Mariza

In reply to by Noma L.

Mariza M.

Hi Noma I’ve been using the lvadshirt in the last three years and it’s very comfortable. It is a kind of t-shirt with lateral pockets for the batteries. You can put over a coat or a large blouse and it’s okay to hide the batteries. Hope have helped you Mariza
Profile picture for user Mariza

In reply to by Noma L.

Mariza M.

Hi Noma I’ve been using the lvadshirt in the last three years and it’s very comfortable. It is a kind of t-shirt with lateral pockets for the batteries. You can put over a coat or a large blouse and it’s okay to hide the batteries. Hope have helped you Mariza
Profile picture for user Reiss_Tatum
Reiss T.

I have had a Heartmate II since 2010. I bathe daily but shower weekly. I do not cover the dressing. It just gets wet. After getting out of the shower and drying off I peel off the wet dressing and pat the area dry with a clean towell. My wife then sanatizes the area with swabs and then applies a "bio-patch" followed by a fresh dressing - one dressing change per week. I have on rare occasion gone 9 or 10 days between dressing changes with no adverse effects. (I DO NOT Recommend this). After the first few months I have never used a Foley anchor due to skin irritation and general discomfort, but I am very careful - and maybe lucky so far - with protecting the driveline to avoid snagging it. I have used these procedures in traveling all over the US and on a trip to Europe. IMPORTANT: It is possible that I have always have had access to clean water sources for bathing. Not all locations have this. At my regualr LVAD doctor visits the coordinators always marvel at how good the exit site looks. I give my wife all the credit for stricltly following the procedures she was taught. Or maybe I have just been lucky. I am an eighty year old DT patient and look forward to celebrating my 10th re-birthday in September. My center is UFHealth in Gainesville, FL. aka Shands, Blessings to all.

 

 

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

85 y/o male living alone, I've had my HMII for 41/2 years. I spit bathe daily and shower and change dressing weekly. I used to do it without any cover on my driveline entrance. I had a very minor "nick injury" at the drive line (don't know how), but still showered without any covering. I developed a drive line infection and spent 5 days being treated in the hospital and about 2 months at home doing self infusions 3 times a day of the liquid anti-biotic through a PICC line inserted by a hospital expert. I now DO cover the site when showering so as to not develop another infection (hurt like hell!). I cut  a piece of Press and seal about 4" by 4" , place it on the opening and then tape all edges securely to prevent water entry. Works for me very well.

Profile picture for user Susang

In reply to by Gene C.

Barry and Susan (caregiver) S.

My husband has a drive line infection due to having a new HM II because of a Short to Shield or a malfunction.  The surgery went fine but leaving the hospital too soon and having infection set in was awful.   He had 5 surgeries in 10 days removing debridement. His chest looked like a map.  Lots of pain, hematoma in two areas and after 40 days in the hospital , now very weak.  Oh yes let me ad then the Coronavirus hit.  We were sent home early again because it wasn’t safe to be in the hospital.  He was in the hospital for his  infusions 3 times a day of the liquid anti-biotic through a PICC line inserted by a hospital expert. He is on the oral Bactrim anti biotic for the rest of his life.   We have Recovery Health coming in 2 or 3Xs a week helping him with PT, OT, and a Nurse for blood draw.   They are great.  I sure wish his drive line site looked healthier, it has been under much stress with the 5 surgeries.   He is 74 and is so strong, I am so proud of him.   We are very careful, changing his site and managing his incisions from debridement. It’s not worth it to be nonchalant  about this device that’s given you life.  God Bless be safe, Susan

Profile picture for user Helen Husband
Helen H.

My husband has had an LVAD since 2018. He has a shower bag that he puts the equipment in, as well as a plastic adhesive patches across  it to protect from water and uses hand held shower wand.

The plastic adhesive are plastic covers are from his equipment provider. 

Profile picture for user shortstp78

In reply to by Helen H.

Juanita P.

Hello Helen,  I've had my LVAD since 3/22/17.  I also have the protective bag for the shower keeping the batteries and controller safe.  It's a morning ritual I thought i would never get adjusted to.  I'm still not good with it, emotionally that is,  but I have the process down.  

I don't think I will ever totally accept the LVAD and praying that my EF comes up so it can get unhooked.  My prayer to God.  

Profile picture for user shortstp78

In reply to by Helen H.

Juanita P.

Hello Helen,  I've had my LVAD since 3/22/17.  I also have the protective bag for the shower keeping the batteries and controller safe.  It's a morning ritual I thought i would never get adjusted to.  I'm still not good with it, emotionally that is,  but I have the process down.  

I don't think I will ever totally accept the LVAD and praying that my EF comes up so it can get unhooked.  My prayer to God.  

Profile picture for user Donco7
William W.

Here is a link to what I use. I have had my LVAD for 2+ years. I can shower and it does not seem to wet. I change the dressing after each shower and have not seen it get wet. This product also works well at keeping moisture out and also has a wicking action for the warm months.

I have my driveline coming out below the driveline entrance point so water sheds should I get caught in the rain or shower with it. 

Best of luck and take care.

 

https://www.shopwoundcare.com/p-a3m-tegaderm-high-performance-foam-adhesive-dressing.html

Profile picture for user Cindy
Cindy R.

Hello Arthur,

I have had an LVAD for 10 years, and have enjoyed and been grateful for every one of them.  I have not found one single way to keep my driveline dry during a shower, and I have tried many, many things.  Because of this, I immediately clean after the shower and make sure it is nice and dry before placing the first bandage.

After about 3 years in with my LVAD, I got a driveline infection, and didn't even know it...it showed up on a test at a routine, quarterly appointment.  I do not know where the infection came from, but doubt it was the shower water.  I have sensitive skin, and scratched longer and harder then I should have, not to mention skipping a few dressing changes.  I believe one of the latter was my infection cause, but who knows?  I was told that once you get an infection, you will always have an infection.  This was driven home when four years later, the same infection decided not to remain dormant on my internal LVAD equipment any longer, and turned into a full blown infection that I was very aware of.  I was sick; lost weight, no energy, fever, and hospitalized for much longer then I could have guessed.  It took surgery to replace the entire system and save my life.  After surgery they found a new and completely different infection on the equipment they removed.

Your Dad's biggest worries should be infection and his INR, and neither one can be delayed or postponed.   Please tell your Dad to not let his guard down, don't skip one dressing change, or it will be easier to skip the next time, and the next time, etc.  Keep a good eye on his INR.  I let my guard down and almost paid with my life...literally.

I hope one of the suggestions offered works to keep your Dad dry during a shower.  If he is like me, he will have to change his dressing immediately after every shower as I do.  Wet bandages are an invitation to infection.

Best Wishes,

Cindy

PS: Does your Dad have an actual infection?  Does he have sensitive skin?

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

Get your dad to his LVAD doctor/team ASAP! If it IS an infection, it has to be treated NOW! Shower info can wait.

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

Get your dad to his LVAD doctor/team ASAP! If it IS an infection, it has to be treated NOW! Shower info can wait.

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

Get your dad to his LVAD doctor/team ASAP! If it IS an infection, it has to be treated NOW! Shower info can wait.

Profile picture for user Jeff Parks
Jeff P.

Hello,

I had an LVAD for 2 years & showered daily. I was able to keep my Drive Wire dry by keeping the area around my entrance site shaved, covering that area with Kerlix dressing, Glad Press & Seal plastic wrap. Then running 4" 3M Medipore tape around the whole mess. Also I utilized a hand held shower head so I could protect the area & keep a minimum of water reaching my dressing.

I bought the 3M Medipore 4" tape from amazon at a reasonable price. Can't remember exactly, like $12 for 3 rolls. Tried to buy it from a medical supply store they asked like $20 + for a single roll. Medipore tape is not completely waterproof but was the absolute best that I could find.

I found having the tape pre-cut & hanging from sink ledge was helpful.

just checked Amazon 3 rolls of 4" Medipore cloth surgical tape $24.75

best of luck!

Profile picture for user conniew
Connie W.

I tend to get low flows when I'm constipated.  So after I "go" all is back to normal

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

See if your primary supplier has water barriers for showering. If they do, order from them so your insurance will pay for them. You can't do that from Amazon.

Profile picture for user Gene Clements
Gene C.

See if your primary supplier has water barriers for showering. If they do, order from them so your insurance will pay for them. You can't do that from Amazon.

Profile picture for user twinlarry
Larry G.

I use something called tegaderm it is water proof and easy to use i get the the roll type last me 6 months i use it now for my dressing changes to as it lets it breath and is water proof hospitals use it too

Profile picture for user Ron Malpass
Ron M.

Tegaderm rolls are 6the only thing that works for me. It is waterproof and a roll lasts a long time. your dressing changew supplier should have it and it IS covered by insurance. I couldn't live without it and I shower daily with it and change the bandage weekly.

Ron Malpass

Profile picture for user Ron Malpass
Ron M.

Tegaderm rolls are 6the only thing that works for me. It is waterproof and a roll lasts a long time. your dressing changew supplier should have it and it IS covered by insurance. I couldn't live without it and I shower daily with it and change the bandage weekly.

Ron Malpass

Profile picture for user shortstp78
Juanita P.

Hello Everyone....I've had my LVAD now for over 3 years, almost 3 1/2.  I had an alarm go off last night while sleeping, "driveline disconnect"....adjusted the wires and it stopped didn't get it again.  Has anyone ever had that alarm, and if so what did your team tell you to do?  

Profile picture for user Mariza

In reply to by Juanita P.

Mariza M.

Hi Juanita

I have never had that. Have you checked the alarms in your controller? I had alarms using charged batteries , but  the problem was in the clips. I changed them and the system woks now properly. Have you checked with your team, what could have happened with your driveline /controller connection?

Profile picture for user Mariza

In reply to by Juanita P.

Mariza M.

Hi Juanita

I have never had that. Have you checked the alarms in your controller? I had alarms using charged batteries , but  the problem was in the clips. I changed them and the system woks now properly. Have you checked with your team, what could have happened with your driveline /controller connection?

Profile picture for user Cindy

In reply to by Juanita P.

Cindy R.

Hello Juanita,

I have had my 2nd LVAD for over 3 years as well.  I have never had a driveline disconnect alarm, but I did get weird, off the wall alarms while sleeping several months ago.  I cannot remember the one alarm, but the other was low flow.  Within days, I hooked up to the wall to go to bed, and I am not exactly sure what happened, but there was some sort of short, which caused the LVAD to stop three times.  I finally realized I was in trouble, calling the VAD team, while trying to get back on battery.   I will not try to explain what they told me, but the terms 'short' and 'short to shield' were said a lot.  Essentially, something in my night cord and LVAD system shorted out, and I now have to use a different cord.  Please call your VAD team.  Don't take any chances...I had never heard of the shorts before, but they obviously exist.

Best wishes, and may God bless you,

Cindy

Profile picture for user shortstp78
Juanita P.

Hello Everyone....I've had my LVAD now for over 3 years, almost 3 1/2.  I had an alarm go off last night while sleeping, "driveline disconnect"....adjusted the wires and it stopped didn't get it again.  Has anyone ever had that alarm, and if so what did your team tell you to do?  

Profile picture for user shortstp78
Juanita P.

Hello Everyone....I've had my LVAD now for over 3 years, almost 3 1/2.  I had an alarm go off last night while sleeping, "driveline disconnect"....adjusted the wires and it stopped didn't get it again.  Has anyone ever had that alarm, and if so what did your team tell you to do?  

Profile picture for user jm1963ga@att.net
Jerome M.

My doctor recommended avoiding the shower. I shower from the waist down and at the sink for the rest of my body. My wife does my back. I wash my hair over the laundry tub and I've not had any infections going on three years.