Author + information
Birthdays are important milestones in our lives, but for a left ventricular assist device (LVAD [aka heart pump]) patient like me, re-birthdays are even more important. Today, September 20th, is mine: the 8-year anniversary of my life-saving LVAD, implanted at University of Florida Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida. At that time, I was at death's door with end-stage congestive heart failure (CHF), apparently attributable to exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. Today I am alive and as well as most people my age, 78, can expect to be, enjoying retirement and family.
The annual death toll from CHF in America is quite high and growing. Although proper medical care can help postpone the inevitable, a diagnosis of CHF is essentially a death sentence. Amazingly, many doctors, including cardiologists, are often uninformed or misinformed about the possibilities of the life-extending, quality-of-life-restoring benefits of devices like LVADs. It is not a viable therapy for every CHF patient, but that is a determination that your local doctor, however competent, is not in a position to make. Only after you have undergone extensive testing at a medical center with a heart transplantation or ventricular assist device program can the specialists make that call for you. That usually involves a referral by one's primary care provider or cardiologist.
Someone you know may need this information. I will be happy to respond to emails if there are questions I can answer.
Every day is a gift, and I am still alive and having fun!
Please note: The author has reported that he has no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
- 2019 American College of Cardiology Foundation