As a precaution, always carry your VAD emergency information with you.
Every state has different rules about driving with a VAD. If you are a licensed driver, use caution within the first 90 days after surgery because you may still be taking medication that may affect your concentration. Some medications will cause side effects that you won’t have adjusted to yet. When you start driving again, take short supervised trips to get used to driving with the new equipment. If you feel dizzy, short of breath, or have blurred vision, pull over to the side of the road immediately and call for help.
Long Distance and Air Travel
You will be able to travel, even on a plane, but it takes some extra planning with your care team to make sure you’re safe. You will need a travel plan and an emergency action plan for long-distance trips. Your care team will make this plan and contact other ACTION hospitals to discuss your care. When traveling by plane, you will NOT go through standard security. You will need to tell the airline agents you have a medical device and they will take you through a separate security lane.
It will vary from hospital to hospital, but once your care team decides it’s safe for you to return home and go to school or work, or perform your normal activities, multiple steps will occur to ensure your safety. When you do leave the hospital, make sure to:
If your care team feels you must stay in the hospital for a longer period of time, you may be able to get school services in the hospital. In-hospital school staff can work with your school to make sure you get the right learning materials.
Learn more about how your doctors will determine when you’re ready for jobs and school in the interactive below.
Once you’ve recovered from surgery you should be exercising to get stronger. You may be instructed to do special exercises at home or you may be asked to come to the hospital frequently to exercise in the clinic. Your care team will help you choose exercises that you can do safely.
If you have a wearable tracking device, talk to your care team about coming up with a step goal to keep you moving daily.
Additional Safety Tips:
Download our VAD-Venture iOS App for the HeartMate 3™ LVAD!
Check out our VAD-Venture Controller Change-Out simulation app for iOS. This simulation game is designed to help you practice changing out the HeartMate 3™ LVAD controller, in return helping you build the confidence needed to properly care for your device.
Don’t have iOS? Practice your skills here.