LVAD... Left Ventricular Assist Device



THE LVAD ALLOWED ME to go HOME and conquer my normal and newest tasks once again.

Thank you Columbia-Presbyterian... Dr Naka and his Surgery Team, LVAD Nation, Dr Bijou & Dr Bonoan, Dr Mascitelli and Dr Shulman-Marcus!!!


Thank You God For I Am Blessed!


I would look like this :-)


30 November 2010

The Bionic Bride is on the "TODAY" Show... December 1 2010

The Bionic Bride, Ally Smith, a HeartMate II recipient will be on The Today Show tomorrow morning doing a follow-up piece from her segment this past May, where she had discussed what it was like to prepare for her wedding with the Heartmate II

It is anticipated that Ally will be on during the second hour of the show (8:00 - 9:00am EST). It will be very interesting to see Ally and her Heartmate II on national TV:-)

Here is Ally's Facebook page:

23 November 2010

What A Wonderful Trip It Continues To Be by Steve Dunlap



What a wonderful trip it continues to be. Throughout all of the trials and tribulations connected with heart disease, it continually amazes me the directions life takes you. The fear that one has whenever they begin a journey is real. When I began my journey with chronic heart disease, there was a fear that I would not be hanging around much longer. My cardiologist had told me that he couldn’t do anything else for me.

I was expecting to live the next few months and then go on. He referred me to the transplant team at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. Before I could get there however, I ended up in the hospital and had to have a pic line and a bag of medicine hanging from my body 24 hours a day. Those of us with LVADs know what it is like to have a bag on you, but the plastic tubes of medicine going into your arm is something else. The worry and fear that the tubes might clog up, having to wait for the home health nurse to get there to change your bandage, wondering if your clothes will rip the tubs out, the list goes on.

When I was approved for the LVAD implant, the work began. I am not a small guy. Whenever I had first gotten sick, I weighed over 300 pounds. Through hospital stays and comas, I had dropped to 240 by the time the implant time had come. My fears had taken on all new meanings. Had I done enough to survive? Is my family prepared for what is to come? Am I really ready to die? I am a church going person. I believe that there is only one God. I believe he sent his son to save my eternal life. But even knowing this, I still had my doubts.

The night before one of the invasive tests, I was really doubting my inability to survive all the mess that I was getting ready to start. I was laying in the comfort of my hospital bed contemplating all my doubts. I said a small prayer, “Show me you are with me.” One of the nurses then came in to give me my “earlier than anyone should” vitals. Whenever she had finished, she began to leave the room. She asked me if I wanted the door open or closed, and I told her it did not matter. She left the room but did not shut the door all the way.

As I turned myself over, it was then that I noticed the reflection on my room’s window. There where darkness had been only a few minutes before, was a perfectly white cross. The way the light was coming from the door and the reflections fit, this white cross came into my room. A reverent “Thank you” came from my heart and peace came upon me. Ever since, there has been no fear. I trust in Him. He knows what I am supposed to do and He is guiding me in my journey. What a wonderful trip it continues to be.

Steven Dunlap Texas, USA


Today Is My 1 Year Anniversary With The LVAD / Can Not Become A Fish And Forget About The Water

As I write this, 1 year ago today, to the moment and the second... Dr Naka and his team implanted the LVAD into my chest and grafted it to my heart. I remember this day clearly. An hour prior to surgery, I was in my hospital bed preparing for the LVAD.

The night before my wife had brought in my hair buzzer. My only request to the nurses and doctors the morning of my surgery was being able to buzz/cut my own hair. Prior to my heart attack, i would be able to buzz my hair in under 10 minutes. On November 23, 2009 with a failing heart, it took me an hour to buzz my hair. But I did it!

Extremely fatigued and out of breath from buzzing my hair, I felt proud and accomplished that I completed what I set out to do... a fresh haircut for surgery.

:-) and 15 minutes later I was taken to surgery.

This past year has been a great gift of life for me. A second opportunity to live. A second opportunity to have a quality of life that was close to the one I had before my massive heart attack.

Living with the LVAD is a major adjustment to life. However the trade-off is well worth it. Without the LVAD my heart would not be able to supply me with the energy to walk 5 feet. The LVAD has restored my stamina to the point that my walking is UNLIMITED! This is why I say to other LVAD recipients/patients that WE Can Not Become Fish That Forgets About Water.

It is somewhat easy for me to forget I have an LVAD. I do watch my diet, take all my meds, visit the Doc on a regular basis... but at times I have to remind myself to slow down and pace myself.

There are risks with the LVAD that can cause death such as strokes and infection of the exit site.
These 2 risks run through my head as reminders that I must be careful with keeping the driveline still and secured so that it doesnt move or tug on the exit site as movement of the driveline can turn into an infected exit site. The best course for anyone to avoid infections is to LISTEN to their LVAD TEAM regarding what to do and what NOT to do.

In reference to clotting and strokes, LVAD patients are on blood thinning meds such as Coumadin. Taking my scheduled daily dose of Coumadin and keeping under the correct amount of daily vitamin K intake ( such as vegetable greens... lettuce, spinach, broccoli... etc) will keep the risk of clotting at bay.

So in closing (for now) I am very grateful for this year with the LVAD and the quality of life it has retored into my daily activities and life overall!


14 November 2010

EVERYDAY LVAD and Dr. Naka / Dr Deng's Book

My Life With The LVAD is not any different than those featured in the book or those in the future that will need this modern day miracle. An everyday miracle that folks like Dr Oz, Dr Naka, Dr Deng, Dr Takayama and all LVAD/Transplant surgeons strive to perfect even further. Thank You

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11 November 2010

Respect Our Veterans

With or Without the LVAD, We all must appreciate our Veterans and our serving Military for the Freedom and Protection they provide.

A few years ago I made this tribute video for a dear friend and his son...

And The Good Saga Continues...

31 October 2010

A True Bridge That Restores Life... LVAD Stamina

I wish that no one had to live with an LVAD; however if your life comes to the point where you are presented with the choice of an LVAD implant… the LVAD may provide you with a better quality of life.

In most cases that I see, stamina that was lost after years of heart failure, or because of a sudden massive heart attack (as in my case)... returns. Some have told me they feel 10-15 years younger because of the increase in stamina that the LVAD offers. A man who is 80 years old, told me that he has not completed 18 holes of golf in over 15 years. A few months ago, with the LVAD, he completed 18 holes!

In my case, I was in decent shape, athletic and health-minded; then I had my silent heart attack. For 6 weeks I could not walk more than 5 feet without feeling too exhausted to continue. I was told that a heart transplant was my only answer to survive. Then I had the LVAD implant as a "Bridge To Transplant" and here I am in the video below:

Here is a video that is my "living proof" :-)

And the Good Saga continues...

The Great LVAD Pumpkin


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30 October 2010


Some folks have lucky numbers... and some folks have lucky numbers. These numbers represent my LVAD PUMP's performance and how my own body is reacting...

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29 October 2010

26 October 2010

If President Lincoln had An LVAD...

"If President Lincoln had An LVAD..."

What I am trying to say here is... It is always best to do your homework in making the LVAD and any other decision. Once the decision is made keep doing your homework. It is always in your best interest.
And the good saga continues...

18 October 2010


2 flights like pictured, one right after another and not outta breath!

And The Good Saga Continues...
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Thoratec Headquarters

Thoratec HQ... makers of the Heartmate II... Employee/Company morale is impressive.

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New York Yankees, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital And The LVAD Are Unbeatable Team

And the good saga continues...

New York Yankees, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital And The LVAD Are Unbeatable MVP Team ;-)
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15 October 2010


Photo below is dedicated to the Bionic Bride!!!
Holding the HeartMate II LVAD replica.
The LVAD... the inside look ;-)

This Nurse/Doctor is actually a USB memory stick sent to me :-)
And the good saga continues...

11 October 2010

Care-Givers are true Warriors :-)

LVAD Care-Givers/Spouses are the true Warriors of LOVE:-)
And The Good Saga Continues...

NEW Photos Of Former Vice President Cheney Making Giant LVAD Step October 2010

I have been following the Former Vice President's LVAD story on a daily basis since the news broke in mid July. I too have an LVAD, and to see a Public Figure with VP Cheney's recognition receive an LVAD implant and perform about his daily activities and duties, sends reassurances to the LVAD community and to the public as a whole that a Life can be saved and restored with the same or even more intensity; despite End Stage Heart Failure.

Below I found these great photos, the first of the Cheney's in public since the VP had his implant.

This photo above of the VP and his wife is my favorite... the proud and humbling smile caught on the VP's face is that given to a wife for her unconditional love and being his #1 Care-giver!

Lynn Cheney interviewing her own husband.

Don't let the "frail" appearance throw you off, Life with the LVAD improves Day By Day, Week By Week and Month By Month. I am very happy and proud that VP Cheney is winning the good fight.

And the Good Saga Continues...

07 October 2010

Former Vice President Cheney Back Into Public Speaking With The LVAD! Back In Business!

(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Below post is from the Wall Street Journal Online:

By John D. McKinnon

Last summer, former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized with congestive heart failure, and underwent a procedure to implant a tiny turbine-powered pumping device in his chest. Today, Cheney gave a speech to a national insurance group in Colorado, in a further sign that the device is working to assist his damaged heart.

Cheney was the keynote speaker on Monday at the 97th annual Insurance Leadership Forum at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs.

The group that sponsored the appearance, the Washington-based Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, was releasing no details of the former vice president’s closed-door remarks, other than to confirm that he appeared in person as scheduled.

Former President George W. Bush is scheduled to appear before the group on Tuesday. The council describes itself as “the voice of the market leaders and the premier association for commercial insurance and employee benefits intermediaries in the United States and abroad.”

And the good saga continues...

01 October 2010

Me, My LVAD And A BAT :-) The Video!

Left ventricular assist device made by Thoratec Saved and restored my life.

The LVAD that I have is a HeartMate II. Its purpose is to bypass my damaged Left Ventricle by pumping oxygen enriched blood into my brain, lungs and body. Its kind of a partial artificial heart, but really a blood pump. It is a manmade miracle! before i had the implant i was horizontal on a hospital bed 24/7 with little time left to live and with poor quality of life... now i can swing a bat again :-) Thank you "LVAD NATION" 7th Floor, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC

Here is a video that is my "living proof" :-)

And the Good Saga continues...

29 September 2010

The General's General, The One You Want Leading The Good Fight For Your Cause.

Margaret Flannery was the first from "LVAD Nation" to meet with me and my wife. With patience Margaret explained in depth about the LVAD implant, the peripheral procedures and testings involved in order to become eligible.

Her confidence, professionalism and approachable demeanor made my decision to trust Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to perform the open heart surgery/LVAD implant very easy. A short time later Margaret made my decision even easier by bringing in Dr Naka, the surgeon who would perform the surgery. Both Dr Naka and Margaret showed me a replica of the HeartMate II LVAD. I was able to hold it and realized that this device would bring back most of the stamina that I had lost. I felt that the 2 of them were the Best of the Best Columbia had to offer.

10 months later, LVAD in place, from the bottom of my LVAD I am thankful that folks like Margaret and Dr Naka are affiliated with Columbia Presbyterian hospital.

And the good saga continues...

28 September 2010

Columbia Presbyterian Hospital VAD SUPPORT GROUP September 28 2010

Today's LVAD Lunch & Learn series proved to be very productive. 1st on the agenda was Thoratec Product Update presented by Teri Gardner, RN Clinical Consultant from Thoratec. The update showed the future generations of the LVAD and LVAS. Smaller, more user friendly and wireless... yes, NO wires! However, the wireless is still in the distant future but on the radar screen of Thoratec. Bravo.


Dr Yoshifumi Naka, my Surgeon, and the Director of the Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, stopped in and greeted everyone between the 1st and 2nd items on the agenda. Dr Naka was greeted by a round of applause and more applause from the audience as he left. After all, Dr. Naka had his skilled and gifted hands "touch" all of our hearts in more ways than one.


2nd on the agenda was Traveling with the LVAD, presented by Khristine Orlanes, ACNP. Informative topics included "Must Haves at All Times", "Air Travel specifics" and "Land Travel". During this session, discussions led to the proper handling of our LVAS as well as offering information to the airline and TSA for security reasons.


3rd on the agenda was "Preventing and Managing Infections", presented by Dr Nir Uriel Proffesor Clinical Medicine, Center for Advanced Cardiac Care, Columbia University. This topic was engaging as it addressed infections at the driveline Exit-Site. All in attendance were told and showed what to look for and how to avoid an infection. Well over 40% of deaths related to the LVAD is due to infection.


Lastly, there was a spread of good healthy food, buffet style, where all the LVAD recipients, care-givers and other interested parties mingled and shared their war stories :-) at the newly built River Terrace, Milstein Family Heart Center, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital NYC.

And the good saga continues...

27 September 2010


2nd LVAD LUNCH and LEARN... They are great as it focuses on the
LVAD recipient/patient/care-givers/Families ONLY!

The last one pulled in over 20 LVAD recipients. I am hoping more of us is there.

And the good saga continues...

26 September 2010

Large LVAD Community Cheering Vice President Cheney

After attending the HeartMate II Ambassador Summit in Pleasanton, California, I was constantly asked how VP Cheney is faring. I only know as much as the rest. My knowledge of VP Cheney's recovery is as good as what's being released in the media. In an earlier post, I cited remarks made by his daughter, Liz Cheney and linked a radio interview that she made, where she stated that her Dad is doing well.

I would just like to express that there will be a day, maybe now, that Former Vice President Dick Cheney will become an LVAD Recipient, rather than an LVAD Patient. That threshold is realistic and obtainable. It is a point in that person's life that he or she says, "Yes, this LVAD has restored my life and stamina to where it was years ago. I do have restrictions however it is a wonderful trade-off to feel this good.

So again from the bottom of our LVADs, the LVAD community wishes Vice President Cheney a happy recovery.

And the good saga continues...

24 September 2010

“What can we do to make THORATEC better?” My answer was “ Build ALOT more LVADs. Save more lives”

Every since the LVAD was implanted in me, I have adopted the phrase “And the good saga continues…”. So all along my “good saga”, THORATEC has proven time and again that it is an organization that is sincerely committed to their visionary mission of saving lives. They are manufacturing a product whose “end users” are in different stages of heart failure, in which mine is End-Stage Heart Failure.

In more ways than THORATEC may ever know, their product, the HeartMate II is a gift… a gift of life, and life is the most precious commodity anyone can have.

THORATEC has proven to me that they are always looking to improve an already well-run organization. They go to extreme and tedious lengths to reinforce quality control at all levels in creating the components of the HeartMate II.

The participants of the Summit were treated to a tour of THORATEC’s manufacturing plant where I found employee morale to be comprised of pride and accountability. The participants of the summit were also engaged in a round of discussions to assist THORATEC in their future decisions and directions.

And I can say from the bottom of my LVAD that each summit participant took pride in answering any questions THORATEC posed as we all knew that sharing our experiences, giving our opinions and ideas will better the quality of life of future LVAD patients and their families.

One of the easiest questions asked of me was “What can we do to make THORATEC better?” My answer was “ Build ALOT more LVADs. Save more lives” ;-)

Being a participant at THORATEC's HeartMate II Ambassador Summit has been a phenomenal experience I will never forget.

Thank you THORATEC… from the bottom of my LVAD… each and every employee.

22 September 2010


For the past several months,
I have been handing these inf0-cards out.

I have been handing these cards out for the pastr several months now to raise awareness and to "explain" to folks what i really have :-) i will be bringing them to the Summit as well.

And the good saga continues.... In California!

18 September 2010

I am who I am TODAY because of a lot people and their passion. Let's start here...

This Wednesday at 5am, My Wife, Rosie and I are flying off to California.

We are attending Thoratec's HeartMate2 Patient Ambassador Summit 2010. We are honored and looking forward to sharing what we will learn once we come back.

Posted in the photo is part of LVAD NATION from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan... I am who I am now because of them and would like to thank the ENTIRE staff there.

Not pictured are Margaret, Donna and the many doctors & nurses that saw me through surgery and recovery. L to R Rosie, Jennifer, Anne Marie, me and Khristine... pictures of Margaret and Donna soon to follow.

And The Good Saga Continues...

13 September 2010

Dick Cheney: ‘Doing a Lot of Physical Therapy’ After Heart Surgery—but Hoping to Go Fishing Real Soon, Says Daughter Liz

Here are excerpts from a BlogRadio interview with Liz Cheney

Dick Cheney: ‘Doing a Lot of Physical Therapy’ After Heart Surgery—but Hoping to Go Fishing Real Soon, Says Daughter Liz

The former veep: Angling to get back to the Cowboy State asap. You gotta hand it to Dick Cheney. Less than two months after doctors implanted a pump in his heart to compensate for increasing congestive heart failure, the 69-year-old former vice president—who has had five heart attacks over the past 32 years —is hard at work on his memoirs, while gearing up for some outdoor fun.

So says Dick’s daughter, Liz Cheney, who’s collaborating on her dad’s book, which will help put his legacy within the George W. Bush administration into perspective.

“He’s doing really well. He is back at home here in Virginia and he’s hoping to get back to what we really consider home, which is Wyoming, as soon as he can,” she tells AACONS host Marie Stroughter.

“His left-ventricular assist device is essentially a pump that helps his heart function, helps his heart to pump more effectively. And that’s working wonderfully.

Liz: Helping dad cast new light on history.
“He’s doing a lot of physical therapy. He was in the hospital for about five weeks. So when you’re in the hospital for that long, it does take time to recover and come back. So that’s what he’s focused on very much now,” Liz, an attorney who held key roles in the State Department under President Bush, continues.

“But he’s doing really well, and back at work on the book. We’re looking forward to having the book come out, and also to having him get back to Wyoming.

“I think what he’d really like to do is get back on a drift boat on the Snake River and do some fishing. Hopefully that’ll come...

01 September 2010

My LVAD Experience Response Letter To A Daughter Whose Dad Is Post-Op with LVAD HeartMate ll

My LVAD Experience Response Letter To A Daughter Whose Dad Is Post-Op With LVAD HeartMate ll :

"As you stated my case is different than your dad's... i have no prior Heart History until my heart attack that happened about 1 month before my LVAD implant. I am also under the age of 50.

But I have LVAD friends in their late 70s and well into their 80s who are more active than they have been in 10 maybe 20 years! I know kids 19, 20 21 year olds with the LVAD. One 21 year old is a Father of 2.

The LVAD is amazing, however... respecting the Driveline and Entry Point and our diets are crucial elements in keeping healthy and preventing infection.

Bravo to your Dad, i think the key to keeping him positive through the 1st week of recovery...

...i kept setting ...Goals Setting SETTING GOALS :-) and achievements... rewarding myself by fulfilling certain food cravings... and other small goals.

Here I am seen helping to "teach" Baseball to my eldest Grandson ...along with my Son-in-law, Daughter and wife.

Also battery location... I use this Holster-shirt that undercover law enforcement wear. i conceal my batteries in these pockets :-) Nice.

I have no neck,shoulder and or back strain as the batteries are stuck to my ribs like a spider web, i barely feel the weight of the batteries while there is not any free motion of the batteries as well.

Holsters are stitched onto an actual shirt and the shirt actually stretches over the driveline that helps to keep everything snug and stable. Lower risk of tugging on the driveline and entry points too.


I also wrapped a binder around my belly, taught by my hospital, that trapped the driveline as a secondary measure to prevent tugging on the entry point. feeling more secure too.

This style shirt makes "This" LVAD RECIP feel even more comfortable and dignified too ;-)

Sometimes when i dont wear the binder or holster-shirt i wear this small round "thing" called a Hollister that sticks to the skin and snuggly anchors the driveline like a brake, but the Hollister might be given to your dad from the hospital upon discharge... Because it was an LVADRecip from Belgium who told me of the Hollister ...!

I trust that your Dad is being Honored as his biggest Victory in Life has just occurred...

Tell your Dad to Keep Strong, fight the good fight, Heal as Quick as possible and will have fun soon :-)

BTW i am posting this on my Blog without revealing your name.
Thank you... it was a good and important topic to cover. POST-OP LVAD

If you are on Facebook, there is a Greg Wood Memorial HeartMate ll Group there that has LVAD recipients, recipient's family and friends there"

And the good saga continues...