Bridge to Transplantation

Heart Mate 11 LVAD

An LVAD is a mechanical device that helps the heart to pump blood around the body. It has parts which work inside and outside of the body. Inside, a heart pump is attached to the left side of the heart. A drive line runs from this and exits the body connecting to a system controller and batteries which help to power and control the heart pump. 
DK received his LVAD called Heart Mate Ⅱ in an 8 hour operation 3 months ago. A second operation was to be performed the next day due to excessive bleeding.
Suddenly our present concerns shifted from fears surrounding a heat transplant to fears of complications involving LVADs.

The Heart Mate (as featured in the picture above), and is the world’s most popular circulatory supporter. It has been used for 10years in more than 20,000 patients in America. The California device company Thoratec was able to market it as a ‘bridge-to-transplant therapy’ for patients who have advanced heart failure. It has been commercially used in Japan since 2013 ( ‘japan’s regulators approve Thoratec’s HeartMate Pump’).

The use of LVADs increased in April 2011 since medical insurance coverage became available for nonplusatile implants. However, there is still a huge demand for long term, durable LVADS due to the extended waiting period for a transplant.
Life with an LVAD 
Everyday life with the Heart Mate LVAD has drastically improved quality of life for DK, myself and his family. Post surgery patients are permitted to leave the hospital and live at home, providing they meet the following standards;
-Patients must live within a 2 hours radius of the hospital
-Patients must have completed all rehabilitation processes.
-Patients must understand and follow all the rules and regulations in the manual.
-Patients must care for and maintain all devices and take medication as instructed.
-Patients must do the following: Drive, use planes or boats, have baths, touch anything which may produce static electricity, participate in contact sports, eat too much salt or drink too much alcohol
Etc etc… 
 Although restrictions apply, life at home offers us freedom and privacy which have fundamental psychological benefits. If accompanied with someone who has taken the Heart Mate 11 manual test DK can also go outside. He has much more energy than before and does not regret his choice to have an LVAD.
LVADs are continuing to evolve through miniaturization and increased durability as technology advances. However, current complications can involve;
-Blood clots
-Late bleeding
-Hemorrhagic/ ischemic stroke
-Pump thrombosis, etc
Looking at all the research and evidence so far DK suggests to people debating life with an LVAD to consider the alternative and think whether the risks are worth the improved quality of life (with restrictions) and length. For him there was no doubt in his mind that he had made the right decision. 


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Wrestler / Teacher / LVAD(Heart MateⅡ)

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