After you're released from the hospital, you may be able to return to most of your daily activities. Depending on your condition, you may be able to return to work, be sexually active and drive. Your doctor should tell you what activities are appropriate for you.

You will likely have weekly appointments at a specialized clinic or hospital to check how well your VAD is working. Your doctor may also recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program (cardiac rehab). Cardiac rehab is a customized program of exercise and education, designed to help you recover after a heart attack, from other forms of heart disease or after surgery to treat heart disease.

Living with a VAD can seem stressful. You may worry that your VAD will stop working or that you'll get an infection. If you're waiting for a heart transplant, you may worry that your VAD won't keep you alive long enough to receive a donor heart. Tell your medical team and family if you feel this way. It may help to discuss how you're feeling, join a support group or talk with a professional counselor.

VADs and heart transplants

If you have a VAD implanted to help your heart pump blood while you wait for a heart transplant, you'll remain in close contact with your doctor and transplant center while you remain on the waiting list. It's likely you won't be allowed to travel farther than two hours driving time of your hospital in case a donor heart becomes available.

Mar. 13, 2012