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What's going on and what should I do now:

  1. What do you feel? That may sound very strange, but if there are really problems with the pump itself, as a patient you usually feel it right away!
  2. Dizzy, tendency to faint and / or nauseated? Could be a problem with the pump, first aid is in this case lie down with your legs up and immediately call the hospital. 
  3. If there is a problem with the pump (visible on the controller): Immediately call the Hospital!

If the above is not applicable, you can initially see if there is something you can do about it yourself

  1. Which alarm goes off and which instruction goes with it? From the training that is given in the hospital, it must be clear what to do in the event of a particular alarm. Tip, read these instructions regularly.
  2. Does this match what you feel? Suppose there is a 'false alarm' due to a malfunction in the controller and it is indicated that the controller needs to be replaced, but you do not feel anything special (beyond the panic). Isn't it convenient to just carry out this instruction?

Below are the instructions for the two different LVADs used in the Netherlands

Heartmate II / Heartmate 3 from Abbott (Thoratec)

  1. Cables properly connected?Check that the cable of the driveline is properly connected, that the batteries are properly seated in the holders and that the holders are properly connected to the controller.
  2. Switch power supply! Are you connected:
    • to the power module (the device connected to the mains) switch over to the batteries; 
    • to the batteries, switch to the power module if possible, or change the batteries.

Look here for the HeartMate alarm card. or to UMC Utrecht HeartMate alarm card

Below an explanation of what the functions are on the controller. The green circle in the top center is important. When lit green, the pump is in operation.

Below is a video explaining the alarms:

Below is a video with instructions for replacing the HeartMate controller:

Below the functions that can be read on the controller of the HVAD. RED means big alarm!

Below is a video with a detailed explanation of the alarms and what to do as a care provider

HVAD from Medtronic (Heartware)

  1. Cables properly connected? Check that the driveline cable is properly connected and that the batteries are securely attached to the controller.
  2. Switch power supply! Are you connected:
    • to one of the network adapters, switch to the batteries;
    • to the batteries, change to one of the network adapters if possible, or change the batteries.

Look here for the HVAD alarm card or look at UMC Utrecht Alarm card HVAD

What is going on and what to do now?

  1. Software bug! It may happen that there is an error in the software that causes false messages such as Replace controller appears in the display. So always start with:
  2. Call the hospital! Before any action is taken that you normally don't! By normal action we mean changing the batteries, switching from one of the battery to one of the network adapters and vice versa.
  3. What not to do: Changing the controller yourself, especially when you are alone !! The controller may only be changed if there is (telephone) contact with the hospital and it is advised at that time. Preferably by someone who knows how to do this.
  4. Remember that the pump is really stopped when the controller is disconnected.

Alarm on, but no clear reason?

Also call than the hospital to consult

It is very important to regularly read the instructions that have been given and to check again in the hospital if in doubt.
It gives confidence and prevents too much panic.