Driving Expectations for the Ventricular Assist Device Patients
The driving assessment is needed in order to assure your safety, the safety of any passengers, and the general public while you are behind the wheel. Driving with your VAD equipment can feel different and change the way you handle a vehicle.
You must get approval from your surgeon to begin the process.
• If you have any of these conditions or situations, you may not drive.
o Deep driveline infection.
o Pump pocket infection.
o Continuous infusions such as antibiotics or medicines to help the heart.
o You do not pass the driver assessment.
o Medical team decides it is not safe for you to drive.
• You may drive if you have
o Completed Phase II cardiac rehab.
o Been approved by the cardiac surgeon to go through the driver
o Passed the driver assessment process.
o A 4-wheel enclosed private vehicle to drive.
• If you are granted permission to drive, you cannot drive these vehicles. This
is not an exhaustive list. Discuss any questions with the VAD coordinator on
o Commercial vehicles – taxi cabs, semi trucks.
o All terrain vehicles, motorcycles.
• You need to contact the VAD coordinator if you want to drive more than 2
hours away from your home.
• If there is a change in your medical condition or if you have been in the
hospital, a new driver assessment process will be started.
If the above guidelines are not followed, we have the right to report you to the state’s Department of Transportation.
The Patient Driving Assessment may be completed one of two ways.
1. Driver Assessment Program at UWHC Middleton Rehab clinic
□ Part 1 Clinical evaluation of reflexes and cognition
Cost is often covered by your insurance company, but it is your
responsibility to check. Call to see if an Instrumental Activities of Daily
Living evaluation CPT code 97003 is covered. You may have a co-pay for
□ Part 2 Behind the Wheel Evaluation
This is an evaluation of physical abilities. This portion is not covered by
insurance companies. There are 2 different choices for completing this part.
o Adaptive Experts – 608-845-2100 There are many locations in the area
o Out of pocket cost $275 (as of 11/2010)
o Department of Motor Vehicles
You will have to take a written law test along with the behind the wheel
test. This is pass/fail. In the event you fail, you will have to meet the
requirements of your state to re-instate your license. The cost varies by
2. Driver’s Readiness Program at Meriter Hospital
Three parts to the program
OT evaluation ($235 - $470 out of pocket as of 6/06)
Psychology Evaluation ($449 out of pocket as of 6/06)
Behind the Wheel Evaluation ($95 - $255 out of pocket as of 6/06)
o If you fail, you must wait 6 months to re-test.
o Meriter will pre-certify with your insurance company.
o Medical Assistance most often pays for the OT and psychology parts of
the evaluation but not the behind the wheel portion.
o Medicare will most often pay for the psychology part but not the OT or
behind the wheel part.
Please tell your VAD Coordinator which method you would like to pursue so an order can be faxed to the proper facility.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/26/2013
Copyright © 01/03/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7077
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