On October 7th of 2011, I joined a quickly growing segment of incredible people that are living with an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device). It is a tight knit and extremely supportive community that has quickly made friends and family of complete strangers. Mine is the HeartMate II built by the Thoratec Corporation (www.thoratec.com). Here is a bit about the LVAD directly from their site:
The HeartMate II is one of the most advanced devices to treat advanced heart failure available today. The first device of its kind to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for advanced heart failure, the HeartMate II has already provided thousands of people with new hope and improved health, allowing them to reclaim their lives.
My New Normal – Life with an Implanted HeartMate II LVAD by the Thoratec Corporation
The HeartMate II is a heart pump called an LVAD (short for Left Ventricular Assist Device). An LVAD is designed to help the left side of your heart pump the blood your body needs. It does not replace your heart. In most cases with a HeartMate II* LVAD, advanced heart failure patients can experience a dramatic improvement in their heart failure symptoms. With oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout the body, most people say they feel better and have more energy. Most HeartMate II patients also experience an improved quality of life. They can once again enjoy their favorite activities, such as travel, golf, visiting family members, dancing and playing an instrument.
From their link:
Here is also more really good information about it:
Probably the highest profile of someone with an LVAD, someone that has been covered the most by the media, is Former Vice President Dick Cheney. No matter what you may think about his politics and service, he has really started to shed light on a medical device that is dramatically improving the lives of people with Congestive Heart Failure, like me.
Due to the fact that this is fairly cutting edge medical therapy, most of the information that is available for people going through this, is still being written, and most of it is being written by the LVAD community of people living with the devices and their caregivers.
Here are some resources you should check into if you are looking for advice, information, or support for yourself or someone you know, that may be headed on this path:
Facebook Groups – Search for:
There will be a weekly “Tweetchat” on www.twitter.com Wednesday & Sunday nights. You can follow it by searching the following keyword: #LVAD