Recovery

You will be taken to a bed in the ICU to recover immediately after the implant

  • You will be connected to a ventilator to help you breathe while you awaken from your surgery.  This will be discontinued when you can breathe independently
  • You may need a special catheter in one of the big veins in your neck that will monitor the pressure in your heart and drain any fluids in the chest
  • You will have many IVs and IV pumps delivering medications
  • Chest tubes will be present to drain fluids from your chest
  • You will have a catheter in your bladder to drain your urine
  • Most patients are in the ICU for 4-5 days after your LVAD implant depending on the pace of your recovery
  • You will have a procedure called an echocardiogram to evaluate how your heart and LVAD are working together.

 

You will continue to be monitored very closely while you awaken from surgery. Once you are awake and able to breathe on your own, the breathing tube will be removed.

Depending on the pace of recovery, patients typically remain in the ICU for four to five days while intravenous medications are weaned. During the ICU stay multiple tests are performed including laboratory testing, echocardiograms and chest X-rays. Physical and occupational therapists as well as a dietician will begin working closely with you throughout your recovery.

You will be transferred to the Intermediate ICU to continue recovery. On average patients remain in the hospital for 14 - 21 days after LVAD implantation. During this time you and your caregivers will begin learning about your new device. Members of your LVAD team will help you understand:

  • How the device works ?
  • What alarms mean ?
  • Proper system maintenance
  • Battery exchanges and recharging
  • Daily, weekly, monthly, and annual procedures
  • How to monitor for subtle changes ?
  • When to notify the LVAD team of changes or issues ?
  • The importance and risks of your medications
  • Remote monitoring devices and how they help in your care
  • INR tracker to help manage your anticoagulation.

 

You will always be in a private room once on the step down unit so family can visit, or even spend the night in your room with you

You will receive your own set of LVAD equipment, and the LVAD coordinator will start to teach you and your caregiver about the equipment, how to recognize complications and how to contact the LVAD team.

Physical and occupational therapists will work with you to build up your strength. A dietician will meet with you to discuss a heart healthy diet now that you have a LVAD. Our heart failure cardiologists would be conducting serial surveillance of your health and pump performance through your stay.

You will continue with blood draws and chest x-rays that monitor response to medications and your recovery.

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