(August 27, 2015) - Finding a pulse in Matthew Hilton’s wrist is pretty much impossible. He’s using a left ventricle assist device, or L-VAD to keep the blood circulating in his body.
“It’s very interesting that patients with the device, no longer have a regular pulse,” says Dr. Doug Horstmanshof of Integris Health. “When we listen we can hear a very faint heartbeat in the background, but what we hear is the hum of the machine.”
Matthew Hilton wouldn’t be alive without the L-VAD. He nearly died from heart failure last year, at just 30 years old.
“We think there is a great need out there in terms of people that could use this, that aren’t getting access to it,” says Horstmanshof.
Most patients don’t know that the L-VAD exists or don’t have enough information about it. Patients also have to be the right candidate.
“We want to make sure it’s time. We want to make sure it’s right for them, and then we want to make sure they have a good chance of success,” says Horstmanshof.
Hilton almost wasn’t able to get the L-VAD because of his poor health. Now a year later, though, he’s about to see his children head off to school.
“I’m thankful because it helped me live longer, to get better and move toward the next step,” says Hilton. The next step is a heart transplant.
“I don’t want to lose that opportunity. The L-VAD has given me a second chance to get things better.”
According to WEBMD, therapy with the permanent L-VAD device doubled the one-year survival rate of patients with end-stage heart failure as compared with drug treatment alone.
However, there were some risks including infection, stroke, and bleeding.
Watch this week's segment of 4 Your Health, sponsored by American Senior Communities.