Successful support of patients using the implantable left ventricular assist device requires sustained and coordinated efforts by physicians and medical personnel. The authors describe the role of their registered nurse-first assistant (RNFA) as it has evolved through caring for 43 implantable pneumatic left ventricular assist device patients and 8 vented-electric left ventricular assist system patients during a 3 year period. Intraoperatively, the RNFA is responsible for pump assembly, including pre sealing all grafts and connecting areas of the pump using a combination of cryoprecipitate and thrombin. The RNFA assists with pump insertion during surgery. At device explantation, the RNFA dismantles the pump according to the FDA protocol for disassembly. Post operatively, the RNFA assesses and maintains patient hemodynamic stability and intervenes to manage hemodynamic and mechanical problems. Of the 51 patients, 13 are still on support, 9 died before transplantation (17.6%), and post transplant survival is 96.0%. In conclusion, an active left ventricular assist device program requires skilled personnel to manage complex problems and contributes to a successful patient outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering