For people with heart failure, an LVAD can offer a new lease on life. Because the device assists the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, an LVAD can help improve your strength and enhance your quality of life.
Nonetheless, living with an LVAD will require a number of adjustments as you resume your daily activities.
1. Bathe with Care
An LVAD cannot be submerged in water, so you’ll have to avoid swimming and baths. You’ll be able to shower, but you should prevent the driveline exit site dressing from getting wet. Your dressing will need to be changed daily, so you can plan your shower around this routine.
When you bathe, you’ll need to keep your controller and battery pack a safe distance from the water, yet prevent them from pulling on the driveline. Sitting on a shower stool can offer you more stability as you become accustomed to bathing with an LVAD.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Because the LVAD comes out through your chest, you’ll need to avoid sleeping on your stomach. Lying flat on your back is the best position, although some people prefer to sleep on their side. While you sleep, your LVAD will need to be connected to an electrical power source (not a battery pack).
3. Enjoy Moderate Exercise
Regular exercise is an important way to support your health, and men and women living with an LVAD can continue to enjoy a range of activities. With the exception of swimming and contact sports, no exercise is off-limits. Your care team can help you determine which activities are best-suited to you as you rebuild your strength and stamina.