A Marvellous Guide to Having a Cardiac Device Fitted
A number of heart failure patients now live with complex cardiac devices. This Marvellous Guide has been created by the Pumping Marvellous Foundation (PMF) and Patient Educators who all live with a cardiac device. The aim of the guide is to give you the information that we HOPE will be helpful when you are about to have your cardiac device fitted. There is technical information here in ‘patient speak’ and discussion around the various emotions that you may be experiencing at this time.
What are they and how do they work?
Cardiac devices are very clever, almost as clever as your body! To understand how a cardiac device works, it’s necessary to understand how the heart works.
The heart is a pump that ensures that blood containing oxygen and nutrients is delivered to all parts of the body. When the heart is unable to do this efficiently, we call it heart failure. The heart is made up of four chambers (see diagram) the right and left atrium and the right and left ventricle. The diagram explains how the blood that delivers oxygen to the rest of the body returns to the heart and is sent to the lungs to pick up more oxygen. It then returns to the heart and is pumped out of the left ventricle (LV), which has the most work to do of all the chambers. Blood is then sent around the body. In heart failure, we particularly relate to how efficiently the LV is working. You may have heard this referred to as the ejection fraction (EF), thus you will see it written as LVEF. We expect a normal LVEF of approximately 60% to 65%. In heart failure this is usually below 45%. However, it is often not how low your LVEF is that tells us how effectively your heart is working, but how you are feeling. This we assess via the New York Heart Association Scale (on the next page).