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Ginger H. Recipient

LVAD and security screenings

I am planning on attending a college football game in a few weeks.  Is it safe for me to allow security to use the wand in order to pass through the entrance gate?  Is it safe for me to walk through the security detection portals?  Certainly appreciate hearing from anyone familiar with this situation. 

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Lissa N.

Ginger, the answer we always heard from our VAD coordinator was NO wand, ever. We always went towards the one line where it appeared security personnel would screen anyone in a wheelchair. Explain your situation and emphasize that you must be escorted around all the detectors and that under no circumstances can the wand be used without fear of interrupting the magnet in your VAD. Be as polite but as firm as possible. Tell them you are willing to submit to a hand pat down. Explain that they will need to look into your “go” bag as well. You can usually find one sympathetic officer/associate who will understand the seriousness of your request.

One time I had to tell an officer who was acting like a jerk, “Do you want to be the one responsible for stopping the device that’s keeping my husband alive?” I said it without a hint of sarcasm and in a way that made him realize a hand pat down to search for weapons or contraband was absolutely necessary. Most officers are friendly and are intrigued enough by the device to ask questions. After all, VADs will continue to become more common. 

Last suggestion: you may want to have a copy of your paperwork (on hospital letterhead) with you that verifies your assertion of a heart implant and the constant source of electricity that powers it. 

Best of luck to you always and enjoy the football game!! 

Lissa (caregiver)



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In reply to by Lissa N.

Sharon S.

Our doctor provided us with a letter of instructions to security with an internal/external photo of the LVAD. Definitely contact TSA Cares. If it’s more than 72 hours before your flight you can fill out the form on line, including all instructions,  if less than 72 hours you need to call. They notify your departing airport. Be sure to get there 2 hours ahead. Even then you have to be vigilant. One time I also had to stop a TSA person & make sure they hand checked my husbands equipment, told them they would be putting his life in jeopardy. If you have any issues ask for a supervisor. They have had my husband rub his hands over his batteries & control unit & then wand his hands. Request a wheelchair from your airline & they will bypass the security lines & get you to the front. They also help with connecting flights.

Have a safe trip & enjoy!

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Mike D.

I 💯 agree with Lissa. We traveled for the first time via Delta airlines.  We had letter from LVAD  team but I would strongly suggest you contact TSA cares prior to flying.  Not all TSA agents are familiar with LVAD  procedures. It's a process going through security and carrying batteries with you. Give yourself double the amount of time to get through security.