LVADs give advanced heart failure patients a second chance at life. Patients who make the proper adjustments to their new lifestyle and properly protect the LVAD equipment could possibly extend their life expectancy a full decade! In honor of American Heart Month, Medi-Materials is challenging you to continue to make the best decision for your heart.

Having an LVAD requires additional planning than what you have been used to. Although for many, LVADs bridge the gap while waiting on the transplant list, some LVAD recipients have the device for the rest of their lives.

Medi-Materials has a few helpful suggestions:

Do not get any of your LVAD components wet. Always use your protective bag during showers, keeping the batteries and controllers a safe distance away from water. It’s a good idea to change your driveline dressing after each shower to assure cleanliness and that the exit wound site is dry.

Where and how you sleep are important considerations for your external LVAD equipment. The main focus is that your driveline does not get tangled or pulled while asleep. Stomach sleepers may pull on or press on the driveline wound site, so get in the habit of sleeping on your side or back. The Freedom Undervest is specially designed to make sleeping with your equipment safer. At bedtime you need to plug your LVAD into wall power. It is NEVER a good idea to sleep with just battery power alone!

No matter what, be sure to ALWAYS take extra batteries and your backup controller with you wherever you go.

There are LVAD patients that continue to exercise daily and travel. We strongly encourage this! Consult with your doctor about customized plans tailored to what works best for you.

Having an LVAD is not the end of the world. It is actually the beginning of a new one for you and your loved ones.

Pledge to protect your LVAD this American Heart Month!