Tubes and Lines seen after Ventricular Assist Device Implant
There are tubes, lines, and monitors that you may require after surgery. Drains remove fluid from
the body. Lines are used to give fluid and medicine. Monitors measure how your heart and lungs
are doing. This is a list of the common tubes, lines, and monitors:
ξ Ventricular Assist Device Driveline: A tube that comes out of the abdomen. It connects
the Ventricular Assist Device (heart pump) to the controller and power source.
ξ Arterial Line (A-line): A tube in an artery used to measure blood pressure. It is also
used to draw blood. The line can be placed in the wrist, arm, or groin.
ξ Blood Pressure Cuff: A device that goes around your arm, wrist, or leg to measure
blood pressure. It inflates and deflates. The nurse will use a Doppler (creates static noise).
ξ Chest Tube: A tube that goes from the chest to a container. It drains any fluid from
around your heart and lungs. The surgeon decides the number of chest tubes placed and
the location of the chest tubes. They will be removed before leaving the hospital.
ξ Endotracheal Tube (or ET tube): It is often called a “breathing tube.” The ET tube is
placed in the trachea (windpipe) through the mouth. It then connects to a ventilator. The
ET tube helps patients breathe while under anesthesia. The tube is removed when the
patient is awake and able to follow all commands. They must be able to breathe on their
own. It may take a few hours to days. The patient cannot talk when the tube is in place.
ξ Foley Catheter: A tube that passes through the urethra, ending in the bladder. It drains
and measures urine while under anesthesia. It is normal to feel the urge to void. The
catheter will be removed by a nurse 1-2 days after surgery.
ξ Intravenous Catheter (or IV): A tube in a vein that is used to give fluid and medicine.
IV lines can be placed in several places. It is common to have a large IV in the neck, as
well as smaller IV’s in the hand, wrist, or arm.
ξ Nasal Cannula: A tube with prongs that is placed in the nose. It provides oxygen. The
oxygen will be stopped and the tube removed when the patient no longer needs oxygen.
ξ Pulse Oximeter (or pulse ox): A device that clips to the finger or earlobe. It has a red
light at the point of contact, the finger or earlobe. It measures oxygen level in the body.
ξ Sequential Stockings: Stockings or wraps placed on your lower legs. The stockings or
wraps are attached to a machine that inflates and deflates in a routing pattern. They help
with blood circulation throughout the lower extremity, decreasing risks for clotting.
ξ Swan-Ganz Catheter (or swan): A tube that is placed into the IV in the neck. It threads
down to the heart. It allows the doctor to more closely monitor the heart. It is removed
after surgery, when the surgeon does not need to closely monitor the heart.
ξ Telemetry: It uses an electrocardiogram, also called ECG or EKG. Pads will be attached
to the chest. A monitor will be attached to the pads. It allows the doctors and nurses to
visualize what the heart rhythm is doing after surgery.
ξ Temporary Pacemaker: A device with a small wire that is attached to the heart and
exits the chest. There may be more than one wire. A pacemaker is used to adjust the heart
rate after surgery, setting a normal heart rate while the heart recovers. The wires will be
removed before leaving the hospital. If a permanent pacemaker is in place, the pacemaker
settings may be adjusted prior to leaving the hospital.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7898