What to Expect as a Ventricular Assist Device Candidate
Consideration for ventricular assist device placement includes a series of tests to make sure it is the right treatment for you. The testing includes bloodwork, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterization, pulmonary function tests and meeting with a dietitian, social worker, financial coordinator, cardiologist, surgeon and palliative care provider. Our team will work to coordinate these steps over just a few days. If you’ve been admitted to the hospital, these tests and steps will be completed during your stay.
A multidisciplinary meeting of the Ventricular Assist Device Program team will review your test results. Then, the team members will discuss their recommendations with you and your caregiver.
What to Expect From Ventricular Assist Device Surgery and After
A ventricular assist device is implanted in an open heart surgical procedure under general anesthesia. The surgery usually takes four to six hours.
Once the VAD has been implanted, you will be transferred to the Norton Audubon Hospital open heart recovery area where nurses will monitor the ventricular assist device and help you recover from surgery.
Once the initial recovery period is over and your condition is stable, you will move to the step-down unit, known as a progressive care unit. There you will complete your recovery from surgery, become familiar with the ventricular assist device and resume daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating and exercising.
You and your family will learn more about the ventricular assist device in a class for you and your caregivers to gain in-depth knowledge about the ventricular assist device and daily care.
Going Home With a Ventricular Assist Device
It will take some time for you to get used to living with a ventricular assist device, and we will be there to help you along the way.
Some of the tasks you will have at home include:
- Daily driveline exit site dressing changes
- Daily weight and ventricular assist device readings
- Knowledge of your medications and discipline in taking them properly
- Being available for home health visits
- Going to the lab for bloodwork when asked
- Calling when you have any of the issues discussed before you were discharged
- Coming in for all clinic appointments
- Taking care of the ventricular assist device equipment as you were instructed before you were discharged