Currently i am visiting online emergency services forums. Most are unaware of how to treat an LVAD patient. They do not know that LVAD recipients do not have a pulse or a "readable" blood pressure. However, they are all eager to learn.
The Heartmate ll made by THORATEC is the first CONTINUOUS FLOW DEVICE. It has only one moving part making it more reliable. Since it is a continuous flow design, the blood is in constant flow as opposed to the native heart beating that creates the pulse. The Heartmate ll is approved by the FDA for use in the USA for Bridge To Transplant (BTT) and Destination Therapy (DT) patients.
A 911 call is made from a cell phone at a mall. A male patient collapses and seems too sluggish to move. An ambulance is immediately dispatched to the location. The paramedics arrive and find the patient sitting on the floor with his wife by his side. The male patient is conscious and answers the questions the paramedics ask.
He states he became dizzy and passed out. The patient continues to say that he has a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implanted and grafted to his heart. The LVAD helps pump oxygen-enriched blood that his damaged heart can not do. The male patient also claims that due to the design of the LVAD, basic equipment WILL NOT detect his Blood Pressure nor Pulse.
Only special Doppler equipment will detect his vitals.
It appears that the patient has lost color and is sweating. What next? There is a titanium heart/blood pump implanted to his heart. If needed, are chest compressions dangerous for this patient? The answer is YES! It can cause the LVAD to dislodge from the heart and the patient can internally bleed.
I am a 47 yo male with an LVAD implant. I DON'T HAVE the conventionally found Blood Pressure and I do not have a Pulse, However I am alive and well and I am trying to raise awareness of 911/EMT/LVAD PROTOCOL and to obtain more info from the experts on how to spread this crucial topic. It is predicted that the LVAD will be as common as dialysis.
So it is imperative that our 1st responders should be "user-friendly" with LVAD recipients especially when most LVAD recipients are leading mobile and normal lives.
and the good saga continues...