LVAD devices vary by manufacturer. The patient handbook you’re given for reference will have details and instructions for your specific device. Your hospital may give you additional written materials as well. Links to some patient handbooks are below.
In general, however, all LVADs include the following parts:
- Pump: This is the part of the device that is attached to your heart. It helps your heart pump blood to your body.(Learn more about how LVADs work.)
- Driveline: The driveline connects the pump to the controller, and contains the necessary power and electronic cables. It exits through your skin, on either the right or left side of your abdomen.
- Controller: The controller is the “brain” of the LVAD. It operates the pump and has lights, messages, and/or alarms that indicate when the batteries need to be changed and alert you if there are any problems with your system.
- Batteries: Batteries are one option for powering your LVAD. The batteries are charged using a device specific battery charger. Your controller and/or batteries will show you how much power the batteries have left and alert you when they need to be changed. When you are outside of your home you’ll need to have extra fully charged batteries with you. Depending on your specific LVAD device, the batteries may be in a pack along with the controller or carried in a holster over your shoulders.
- AC (Electrical) Power Sources: When you are sleeping or about to sleep, you will need to connect your LVAD to the device-specific electrical power source to eliminate the chance of battery power loss while sleeping. The electrical power source should include a backup battery (possibly internal) in case there is a power outage. Your device may also come with a DC adaptor which will allow you to power your LVAD in a car.
Always refer to the patient handbook or manual provided with your device for specific instructions and information. Below are links to the manuals of several commercially available LVADS: