Yesterday I had an LVAD patient… LVAD meaning a left ventricular assist device.
The left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, is a mechanical pump that is implanted inside a person’s chest to help a weakened heart ventricle pump blood throughout the body.
Unlike a total artificial heart, the LVAD doesn’t replace the heart. It just helps it do its job. This can mean the difference between life and death for a person whose heart needs a rest after open-heart surgery, or for some patients waiting for a heart transplant (called “bridge to transplant”).
LVADs may also be used as destination therapy, which is an alternative to transplant. Destination therapy is used for long-term support in some terminally ill patients whose condition makes them ineligible for heart transplantation.
Welcome to the ICU. This is not an atypical picture of what you can expect here. This patient is on multiple drips (intravenous infusions seen on the IV pumps behind this lovely machine) and having renal insufficiency. This device is called the CVVH or CVVHD machine meant to act as your kidneys and provide slow dialysis at the bedside for patients who are not hemodynamically ( meaning if their vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, breathing etc) stable.
Living the good life and getting to meet interesting people everyday.
Our director had a 30 minute huddle with us the other morning reminding us not to forget about how to be nurses. You know, paying attention to the details and tailoring & individualizing each patient’s care plan.
As a nurse you meet all sorts of personalities from your coworkers to the patients you bond with for the next 12 hours, whether it works or not. I often tell my patients, (the A&Ox3 ones that I meet when they’re already OOBTC) that we are going to be best friends considering 12 hours is such a big chunk of time.
I realized I do get attached. I give my patient’s nicknames and talk to them like how I would speak to my child… In a cutsey you’ll be okay voice. And sometimes they don’t make it and you realize this is why you can’t get attached.
Like pop pop with the balloon pump. Le sigh.