Assessment of pre-operative psychosocial function among people receiving left ventricular assist devices: A national survey of US LVAD programs

Malachy J. Clancy, Amy B. Jessop, Howard Eisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) guidelines for Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) includes assessment of four elements of psychosocial functioning prior to Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implantation. Information about the practices and impact of assessments of psychosocial functioning are limited. Objective: To describe the psychosocial function assessment practices used within US LVAD programs and the influence of psychosocial assessment results on clinical decisions for LVAD patient selection. Methods: In 2017, a cross-sectional survey of LVAD programs listed in the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) (N = 164) was conducted to understand practices used for and the influence of psychosocial assessments for post-operative care planning decisions. Results: Respondents included representatives of 69 LVAD programs from throughout the U.S. that implanted 64.8% of all U.S LVADs in 2016. More than 39 psychosocial screening instruments were used. Assessment of family, social and emotional support occurred most frequently (84.1% (n = 58) of programs assessed 100% of patients), but assessment was least likely to be conducted with standardized instruments (36.2%). Cognitive dysfunction was the least likely characteristic to be assessed (26.1% (n = 18) of programs assessed 100% of patients), but was most often conducted with standardized instruments (53.8% of programs). Twenty seven percent of programs used non-standardized instruments or patient observation. The influence of assessments on clinical decisions to implant an LVAD was most influential in the bridge to transplant pathway with 60% (n = 39) of respondents rating it very influential and least influential for patients in the destination therapy pathway with 39.4% (n = 26) of respondents. Conclusions: Current psychosocial assessment practices in LVAD programs vary widely and often yield non-standardized, non-comparable data that may lead to variations in care and limit generation of an evidence base for decision making regarding psychosocial eligibility for LVAD implantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-307
Number of pages6
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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