Early mobilization of LVAD recipients: Who require prolonged mechanical ventilation

Christiane S. Perme, Robert E. Southard, David L. Joyce, George P. Noon, Matthias Loebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Early mobilization and aggressive physical therapy are essential in patients who receive left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) due to long-term, end-stage heart failure. Some of these patients remain ventilator dependent for quite some time after device implantation. We report our regimen of mobilization with the aid of a portable ventilator, in patients with cardiac cachexia and LVAD implantation. Further, we describe the specific physical therapy interventions used in an LVAD patient who required prolonged mechanical ventilation after device implantation. The patient was critically ill for 5 weeks before the surgery and was ventilator dependent for 48 days postoperatively. There were significant functional gains during the period of prolonged mechanical ventilation. The patient was able to walk up to 600 feet by the time he was weaned from the ventilator and transferred out of the intensive care unit. He underwent successful heart transplantation 6 weeks after being weaned from the ventilator. We believe that improving the mobility of LVAD patients who require mechanical ventilation has the potential both to facilitate ventilator weaning and to improve the outcomes of transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-133
Number of pages4
JournalTexas Heart Institute Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Activities of daily living
  • Critical care
  • Early ambulation
  • Exercise therapy
  • Heart failure, congestive/rehabilitation
  • Heart transplantation
  • Heart-assist devices
  • Physical therapy modalities/methods
  • Post-operative care
  • Ventilators, mechanical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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