An Ode to the LVAD Patient

Student: Amy Petschek (COL’23)

Artist statement: My piece “An Ode to the LVAD Patient ” is meant to capture the patient experience of LVADs or left ventricular assist devices from the past, present, and future. In a triptych, the paintings are meant to demonstrate the progression of LVAD technology and its impact on human lives from the 1970s to today to the future of these life saving devices. The furthest left painting is supposed to be the woman lying in a hospital bed while the active swimmer patient is a representation of the future. I was inspired to pursue this project due to my work as a patient care technician on the surgical cardiovascular ICU at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where I have seen countless patients come in for LVAD implantation or return to the hospital due to complications with their LVADs. My patient interactions are what drove me to better understand what kind of technology the LVAD is and how its evolution from a “bridge to transplantation technology” to increasingly a “destination therapy” has impacted patient lives and mental health. The paintings along with each individual pathography are meant to represent a hypothetical patient and how they see themselves, put in direct contrast with a typical provider view of patients in the form of a hypothetical medical chart. The contrast in the language, especially the extensive use of acronyms and jargon in the charts are purposefully done in order to demonstrate how the world of the patient and the world of the healthcare team can be so different and sometimes at odds. I hope this project can shed some light on these questions and the divide between what can seem like civilian perspectives and medical professionals.