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How have you done with a VAD?

After 13 months on the transplant list and no heart my husband is in ICU and getting worse daily. They will do a VAD early Monday morning. We have asked the nurses etc of course but what about all of you who have experienced this? How was the surgery and recovery time? Did you eventually get a real heart? How much does this interfere with your everyday life?I sure would welcome any replies. Thanks mary

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  • I was given an LVAD in June of 2006 after being listed for for 8 months.  My EF was 9 and my other organs were failing.  As I recall, recovery was not too bad, I had already had a triple bypass in 2000 which was much worse.  In October, I was able to climb small mountains near us changing batteries on the summit.  I couldn't do this activity for years prior.  So the LVAD worked GREAT for me,   I was able to regain my  strength and eventually received my call in December.  Best advice I can offer is, Don't Forget your Batteries.

    • Thanks! It's great to hear you got your heart and doing well!
      My husband was moved to a rehab hospital this afternoon. He's not been allowed any regular food yet so he's getting weaker. Hoping the next week or two he'll be able to start walking and eating again.
  • I had a LVAD and it was very good to allow me to live and do things. It depends on how much function is present in your heart which only an echo can depict. Sometimes, VADs actually can improve heart function, As far as my own experience, I had two (2) LVADS at the same time so they were called BIVADS. I had almost no heart function either right or left side so the BIVADS were mostly life preservative until I could receive a heart. I had them only about 5 months before I was transplanted.

    • Thank you for replying. I'm so glad you got your heart and hope you are doing well? My husband is doing good after his hvad surgery and should be moved to a rehab next week. I hope it keeps him well long enough to keep waiting on a donor
  • hey  mary ,   I had an LVAD 16 months pror to transplant ..  recovery times are generally pretty quick , as long as there are no issues ...    as far as everyday life with one ... I had the older equipment not like they have today ,  I could bowl every day , exercise daily , shop , go fishing ,  they wouldn't let me hunt ...mainly they weren't sure what the kick of a gun would do to the  the VAD its self ...   every day life with out it ....  not sure I could have done much  ...   but again  everyone  is different ,  hopefully this helps some ...   keep us in touch  please ... wishing you all the best ...

    • Thanks for your reply. I usually get an email when someone answered but I didn't this time so I just now saw this. Sounds like he has hope to feel much better! The surgery was really hard on him but he's finally starting to pull out of it and I think he will be out of ICU tomorrow. Would have been awesome to have the heart but we'll be happy with what we get!! Thanks again and good luck to you!
  • Mary - I hope your husband's surgery for his LVAD was successful.  I wanted to let you know about a website for LVAD Patients and Caregivers.  It's www.mylvad.com.  This site helped my husband and I a lot.  It gave great insight to the LVAD as well as encouragement for me as a caregiver.  A special trick for showers that one of our nurses told us about - Press & Seal over the drive line site.  This helps to keep the site dry.  If you have questions - don't hesitate to ask. 

    Best Wishes - Krista French

    • Thank you so much!! As I was telling the others who replied... I normally get an email when someone answers but I didn't this time so I just found this! Thanks for the site info. He's doing well and should be out of ICU tomorrow. Best wishes to you!
  • Hi Mary:

    My husband received a VAD as a bridge to transplant in early January, 2011. I echo all that Krista said. Todd was very sick before his VAD and it was definitely life support for him. The VAD did allow us to go home until he was officially listed for what would be a double transplant (heart & kidney). He was listed in late May 2011 and transplanted June 2 (heart) and June 3 (kidney). I had to go back to work while we waited for him to recover enough from the VAD surgery and as I was afraid to leave him all day, we had a series of Todd-sitters (baby-sitters) from our church who came to keep him company. Life was not normal for us. Even though he did not seem to get stronger with the VAD, the increased blood flow kept his other organs in good enough shape for the transplant. I know many other people had a fairly normal life with the VAD and we met one man who was out playing golf after he got his VAD. All that being said, it was worth it. Todd is now 5 years out and is healthier than ever. He has never had any rejection episodes and he downhill skis over thirty days each winter. Best wishes and prayers to you both. Feel free to touch base with any questions.

    • Thanks so much for your reply! I'm so glad your husband is doing well!!
      The surgery was very hard on my husband but he was very sick so I guess that was to be expected. He should be out of ICU tomorrow and into rehab next week. I'm hoping he feels enough better to enjoy life again but if nothing else the main goal is to make it to get your heart!
      Thanks again for taking time to answer
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