How do you take blood pressure on an LVAD?


Quick Answer

Blood pressure on left-ventricular-assist-device patients is taken intra-arterially, with Doppler ultrasound, with an automated oscillometric or noninvasive blood pressure device, or using a combination of pulse oximetry and sphygmomanometry, according to The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation and JEMS. Most LVADs maintain a continuous blood flow and low pulsatile state throughout the circulatory system, and the best way to detect blood flow is using a normal blood-pressure cuff with a Doppler unit, explains JEMS.

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Full Answer

LVADs are mechanical devices that bolster the cardiac output capacity of the heart. LVADs are used as a bridging solution when a patient is waiting for a donor organ but needs temporary mechanical support until a more definitive intervention is planned. LVADs are also used as destination therapy for patients who don’t meet the criteria for heart transplantation but would benefit from a more permanent implanted device, explains JEMS.

Assessment of a LVAD patient proceeds normally until assessment of the circulatory system. Most LVADs are designed to keep blood flowing continuously, although some LVADs produce a pulsatile flow of blood. Therefore, the majority of LVAD patients won’t have a palpable pulse, and traditional Korotkoff methods of blood-pressure measurement are generally impossible, explains The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. A mean arterial pressure of 60 to 90 millimeters of mercury, measured as the first sound auscultated with Doppler ultrasound, is considered acceptable for a LVAD patient, reports JEMS.

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