There are some risks with a Berlin Heart, but your care team will work hard to keep you safe.
The soft cannula will come out of your lower chest and will need to be cleaned frequently. This is important because bacteria lives on your skin and may cause an infection at your cannula site. You may feel nervous the first few times your dressings are changed, but your care team will be there to support you.
There is a risk of stroke with all VADs. A clot can form in the VAD, become dislodged, and may travel up a blood vessel to the brain. A blood clot in the brain leads to a decreased blood flow to the brain in that specific area, and this is called a stroke. Your care team will manage your blood thinner medicines and levels carefully to try to prevent a stroke. Sometimes, even with perfect levels, a stroke will occur.
Your care team will monitor you for the following symptoms:
- Numbness and/or tingling on one side of the body
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Slurred speech
There is a risk of bleeding with all VADs. To prevent clots from forming in the device, you have to be on a blood thinner. Sometimes the blood thinner will lead to bleeding that may require a change in medicines, a blood transfusion, or in some cases, a surgery to stop the bleeding. Your care team will manage your blood thinner medicine and levels carefully to try to prevent bleeding. Sometimes, even with perfect levels bleeding will occur.