How To Decide If an LVAD is Right for You

Thousands of people have been in the same situation you are in now.  The following ideas can help you decide if an LVAD is right for you.

What's Important to You?

People make different choices about whether to get an LVAD. No single option is right for everyone. The key to making a decision that you are satisfied with is making it based on your own values. What is most important to you about how you live the rest of your life? Talk about your values with your loved ones and with your medical team.
Use the LVAD and Your Values questionnaire to help think and talk about what is most important to you.

Get the Information You Need

This website has lots of general information that can help you decide whether to get an LVAD. But it’s also important to ask questions about your specific situation. For example, your overall health can make it more likely or less likely that you would experience complications during LVAD surgery. You should also talk with someone who has an LVAD to learn about their experience.

Compare Your Options

Benefits of
Getting an LVAD
The LVAD can prolong life.
People with LVADs feel better (feel less shortness of breath, walk farther without getting tired).
Benefits of
Not Getting an LVAD
People who choose not to get the device avoid the medical risks of surgery and living with the LVAD.
People who opt not to get an LVAD avoid the lifestyle changes associated with the device.
Risks & Challenges of
Getting an LVAD
The surgery carries risks, such as bleeding, stroke, renal failure, and respiratory failure.
People living with LVADs are at risk for infections and stroke that can happen over time and send them back to the hospital.
An LVAD requires maintenance, such as caring for the driveline site and monitoring battery life.
An LVAD requires lifestyle changes for both the patient (special preparations for showering, carrying the device and batteries on all trips outside the home) and his or her caregiver (helping the patient with daily needs in the first weeks after surgery, managing medical appointments).
Risks & Challenges of
not Getting an LVAD
People who decline an LVAD deal with continuing heart failure symptoms and hospitalization.
People who decline an LVAD have lower one-year survival rates than people who get the device.
For more details about these risks and benefits, see the LVAD by the Numbers section.
“The family meeting with the doctors was really good. We got to ask a lot of questions, and I was so glad that we had it.”
Bob, LVAD Patient
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