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You will be taken to a bed in North 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
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
You will most likely 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.
You will continue with blood draws and chest x-rays that monitor response to medications and your recovery.