HFSA: Patients' Choice of Ventricular Device Studied

Researchers find that patients' feelings about device parallel survival and functional data

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Most heart-failure patients would want a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) if they were bed-ridden or had a low predicted life expectancy, according to research presented this week at the Heart Failure Society of America's 10th annual scientific meeting, in Seattle.

Kenneth L. Baughman, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 102 patients about the factors they consider important in seeking LVAD therapy.

The researchers found that more than 80 percent the subjects definitely or probably would want a device if they were bedridden, more than 60 percent would want one if they couldn't dress without stopping, and more than 40 percent would want one if they couldn't walk one block. Considerably fewer subjects would want one if they couldn't walk five blocks or if they needed a wheelchair at an airport. The researchers also found 75 percent of subjects would consider a device if their life expectancy was less than six months, and half would consider one if their life expectancy was less than one year.

"Patient thresholds for LVAD parallel objective survival and functional data," the authors concluded. "In heart failure patients without contraindications, LVAD should be discussed by the time expected mortality is within 6-12 months and persistent activity is limited to less than one block."


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