LVAD Frequently Asked Questions
Who can get a LVAD?
For a patient to receive a LVAD, they need to have a heart sick enough to need one, but must not be too sick overall—otherwise the LVAD is too risky. To determine whether the heart is sick enough, and whether the rest of the body in in good enough shape. We perform a number of objective tests.
When the evaluation has finished, your cardiologist will present your case to the LVAD/heart transplant selection committee. The committee meets to determine whether LVAD is the right therapy for you. Other treatment options include continued medical therapy or heart transplantation.
How will my medications change after an LVAD procedure?
Surprisingly, you may be on many of the same medications you were taking for heart failure after LVAD placement, including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and diuretics (water pills – such as Lasix). Two medications all LVAD patients receive initially are blood thinners warfarin and aspirin to make sure the pump runs smoothly and doesn't clot.
What is life like after a VAD (Can I shower, have sex, travel or work) implantation?
After a VAD, patients can perform most activities that patients without heart failure perform. They can bicycle, hike, and even return to work in some cases. They can shower, have sex, and travel, with minor accommodations. LVAD patients cannot swim, play contact sports, or be away from a source of electrical power or a strong magnetic field.