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Dee G. Caregiver

Husband had surgery today

First time posting but I’ve been lurking for a while. My husband had his lvad surgery today and although the left side of his heart is responding positively, his right side is functionIng worse than before surgery. He spent a week in the hospital with a balloon pump and his right side responded well to the improved function of his left side. Surgeon stated that they would monitor him for next 24-48 hours before they go back in to close up his chest. Mind you, he’s only been out of surgery less than two hours but I’m panicking! Anyone else have experience with this where the right side struggled but was able to rebound? Thank you :-)

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Maureen R.


my husband’s right side struggled and he was on RVAD for 4 weeks after surgery , it recovered and been fine since . This was in 2016 . 
hope this helps 

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In reply to by Maureen R.

Dee G.

Thank you. The feedback did help. He’s struggling in many ways now. Battling an infection, low blood pressure, right side of heart and kidneys struggling, fevers. His numbers were stable before surgery and now it’s like everything is plummeting. They are going to be putting in a trache and taking out the breathing tube. He’s responsive neurologically but has been heavily sedated going on day 6. I know it is a day by day, step by step process but it doesn’t make it any easier to see him struggle and know I can’t do anything about it. 

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Patricia F.

My husband received an LVAD on 10/27/2020. He also required dialysis 24/7 after the LVAD was implanted as well as a ventilator. He's been sedated since then. On 10/30 he coded due to right side heart failure. They were able to bring him back and performed emergency surgery to add an external temporary RVAD and ECMO. It was a rough go for the first few hours, but he did stabilize. Today they are repositioning the RVAD tubes and closing his chest. If all goes well, they will try to get him off the vent and start waking him up. Also if all goes well, they will try to get him off the RVAD by the end if the week. It seems like whatever could happen, did happen. The day he coded was the worst. This process seems much more arduous than we understood and it's one day at a time, one process at a time. Everyone is different. I have full confidence that his heart failure team wants a good outcome as much as we do. I've explained it to our family and friends that it's like watching a balancing act with the team doing everything they can to keep him alive while waiting for his own systems to take over.

Thus can be a tough go and we're praying for the best outcome. Prayers for you, too.

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Faiza A.

Unfortunately I am all too familiar with this. The doctors do a very poor job of showing the extreme adversity that is experienced when these surgeries go wrong...30% of the time. 

May he heal soon and may your journey become easier. 

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Maureen R.

I’m really sorry and I hope you start to see some signs of improvement soon. It’s such a traumatic assault on the body and it really does take time. My husband was sedated for 4 weeks, needed dialysis also. I understand what you’re going through. It sounds like the team around him are doing everything they can and he’s receiving such good care. Stay strong and I pray he’ll turn corner soon . 

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Martin F.

Effects, both negative and positive, on the right side are common.  Remember that the LVAD is increasing flow out of the left heart since the heart alone couldn't do it.  The blood flowing through the left side and through the LVAD comes from the right side, so clearly it has to be affected.  Sometimes, the optimum speed setting for the LVAD can help the situation as it did for me.

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Dee G.

Thank you to those who replied. It’s been a horrible 10 days..... fever for last 9 days, tracheostomy, pneumonia, low kidney function, blood clot, continued weakening of right side of heart, delirium and encephalopathy. Every time they try to wake him he’s combative and agitated and his blood pressure drops. He doesn’t know who or where he is so they keep him sedated. I know it takes time but every day there’s another problem. Nothing the hospital told us and none of the literature we read discussed these complications. I feel horrible he is going through all of this and yet I know that if we didn’t at least try he was given a year to live. I’m just lost. 

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In reply to by Dee G.

Faiza A.

I am so sorry that you are in such a difficult position. My father was walking a mile a day prior to his operation. He could not recover at all after the surgery and died 5 months later, never walking on his own again. I am sharing this because think about your options very carefully. Please have firm conversations with the team. Discuss the DNR options. I learned to accept life and death as yin and yang. 

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In reply to by Dee G.

Megan S.

My father had similar complications following his LVAD placement. It was absolutely devastating to witness and to hold no power to help him. I am sending many good thoughts to you and your husband. I am hopeful he will recover. ♥️

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Amy N.

I’m so sorry to hear of the complications your husband is having. I pray for things to turn around and you start to see improvements.

My dad had the LVAD placed and then 5 months later we disconnected it. He had a massive stroke which left him unable to walk or even feed himself. He did not want to live this way, being dependent on others.  Nothing is truly ever explained in medicine. My dad was sold on the brochure that was presented to him, but then aren’t most people.

May God see you thru this.


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Deborah C.

Unfortunately the doctors do not disclose all the horrors that happen to some during or after surgery. They paint a picture of the LVAD giving you back your full life which it does if you recover. My husband developed a blood clot pressing on his aorta and was screaming in intense pain. After giving him some pain medication he experienced trouble breathing so they refused to give him anymore pain medication. They moved him to ICU and finally the head of cardiology could hear him screaming in pain and came running in and ask me what was going on. At that point the VAD team had no clue what was wrong. She got action from the VAD team immediately and he was given pain med and put on a ventilator. I did not find out until late that evening he had developed the blood clot and was scheduled for open heart surgery the next morning. After his second open heart surgery in 2 weeks he developed a post surgery psychosis. He saw horses, eyes spying on on. He told me when I went to dinner the nurse had put him on the elevator and kept taking him up and down the entire time I was gone. He told me he couldn't fight anymore and said goodbye to me. He was also on dialysis for weeks. His nephrologist told me the cardiologists cause more people to need dialysis than any other surgery.

I am happy to report that after three months in the hospital I was able to take him home and he recovered very quickly once he was home. He was not eligible for a heart transplant as he also had cancer. The LVad provided us an additional two and a half years together. His cancer returned with a vengeance and took him from me.

Most people's kidneys recover with time and long term dialysis is not needed.

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Melissa A.

Hi Dee,

my husband was implanted with his LVAD in May of 2015. He died January 31, 2020 due to MRSA and a major bleed. 


After his initial surgery , he ended up being in the hospital for eight weeks and also had a balloon pump before his surgery. He was very agitated and combative when we tried to wake him up he was actually in the ICU for over a week. It was a long recovery and very taxing on me but I look back on the time we had and I am thankful for it . It took us about 2 years to get him in a good spot recovery wise . He was determined to get better . He would walk about 2 miles a day .  He did great until he contracted MRSA, which was in July 2019...his driveline got infected... since he had such a hard time with the initial surgery we decided to not do a pump exchange. 

 Hang on and I pray that things get better for you !