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 Caregiver
“I know I’m going to keep my strength up to come out strong.”

Sam is 65 and a retired police officer. His wife, Susan, suffered a heart attack. After that, her health got worse. She couldn’t walk without stopping many times to catch her breath.

Sam and his wife asked their healthcare team what treatments were available for congestive heart failure. They learned about LVAD therapy.

“A lot of people told us different things about the LVAD,” he said. “And my wife got a book to read through, but it was hard to understand.”

They felt they did not understand the risks and benefits of LVAD. But they agreed to LVAD therapy.

The outcome was not as easy as they had hoped. Sam’s wife had a difficult recovery in the ICU. She had to return to the hospital many times to treat intestinal bleeding.

With their kids grown and moved out, Sam took on most of the caregiving responsibility.

“We really didn’t have anybody else to help us except for me,” he said. “I did all the bandage changing, managed the batteries, everything.”

Even though he knew he did his best to help his wife, Sam sometimes felt guilty.

As an outgoing person, Susan wanted to go and do a lot of things,Sam explained. But all of a sudden, there she was, hospitalized again. “I felt it was my fault for pushing her,” Sam said.

After a 10-week hospital stay, his wife’s bleeding finally stopped. She began to look much better. Still, Sam wishes there were other options.

“My wife said that if she had known more about the potential complications, we might have looked for other alternatives,” he said.

Sam encourages other caregivers to talk to other LVAD patients about their experiences. He says this will help them understand the range of experiences that patients and caregivers have.

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