Patient & Caregiver Stories

As you consider your options, it can be helpful to hear from those who have chosen to get an LVAD. Here, LVAD patients and caregivers share what it’s like to live with an LVAD.
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LVAD Patient
“I know I’m going to keep my strength up to come out strong.”

Jeff, 70 years old and a former engineer, found out that he was not eligible for a heart transplant. His doctors recommended he get an LVAD as “destination therapy.” That meant he would live with the device for the rest of his life.

The first thing Jeff wanted to know was what would happen if he didn’t get the LVAD.

“Will I have a heart attack?” he wondered.

He was also concerned about the risks of serious surgery, especially at his advanced age. He talked to his healthcare team about these concerns. He weighed the pros and cons and then decided, “Let’s go with the LVAD.”

Jeff had not realized how much the LVAD would change his lifestyle. He had to get used to carrying the battery pack around with him. He also took blood thinners, which caused him to bleed easily if he nicked himself during his favorite activities, like gardening or metal-detecting.

Despite these drawbacks, Jeff was glad to get back to his hobbies. Learning as much as he could about the device helped him feel more comfortable living with the LVAD.

An engineer by trade, he said he “loved delving into the science behind LVAD technology.”

He likes to talk to other patients considering LVAD therapy about what they can expect. He knows that everyone is different, but he likes to share his own experiences and knowledge. He feels that it is especially important to talk with both the patient and the patient’s caregiver. He remembers how it helped him and his wife to talk to other patients when they were deciding. He likes to reassure other patients that “It’s a change, but it’s manageable."

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