Unique Aspects of Evaluating a Patient With an LVAD
Key aspects of evaluating a patient with an LVAD include assessing recent device parameters and alarms and for common and/or serious complications such as infection, heart failure, LVAD thrombosis, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The figure also displays the impact of continuous-flow LVAD speed on blood flow pulsatility. As LVAD speeds increase, more blood flows though the LVAD instead of being ejected through the aortic valve. Therefore, at higher pump speeds, there is a lower pulse pressure. Lower pulsatility has an impact on the assessment of pulse and blood pressure on physical examination. See Online Figures 1 to 5 for brand-specific images of device components. GI = gastrointestinal; HF = heart failure; HVAD = HeartWare ventricular assist device; LVAD = left ventricular assist device; RPM = revolutions per minute.