Quality of life and functional status in patients surviving 12 months after left ventricular assist device implantation

Jeremiah G. Allen, Eric S. Weiss, Justin M. Schaffer, Nishant D. Patel, Susan L. Ullrich, Stuart D. Russell, Ashish S. Shah, John V. Conte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Background: As left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support duration increases, quality of life (QoL) becomes a concern. We reviewed the QoL in patients on LVAD support for ≥1 year. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our prospective database for patients supported ≥1 year by HeartMate pulsatile- (HM1) or continuous-flow (HM2) LVADs from 2000 to 2009. Transplant or death before 1 year merited exclusion. Metabolic equivalents of tasks (METs), the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ), the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), and New York Heart Association (NYHA) class were reviewed. Complications and re-admissions were assessed. Results: Thirty patients were supported for ≥1 year (7 HM1s, 23 HM2s). Mean support duration was 594 ± 173 days. Mean QoL metrics/functional status indicators at 12 months were: 6MWD, 393 ± 290 m; MET tolerance, 3.3 ± 1; MLHFQ, 35 ± 31; and NYHA, 1.4 ± 0.6. Mean re-admissions/year was 2.9 ± 2, with a duration of 13.8 ± 21 days. Three patients were never re-admitted. Mean out-of-hospital time was 471 ± 172 days (87.3% of days). Infectious complications led to 43% of re-admissions and occurred in the: drive-line (47%) at 442 ± 236 days; blood (37%) at 472 ± 257 days; and LVAD pocket (20%) at 550 ± 202 days. Twenty-three patients (77%) required additional operations (1.7 ± 1.8/year). The most common indication was drive-line infection, but ranged from ischemic bowel to defibrillator exchange. Eight required LVAD exchanges for mechanical (n = 4), electrical (n = 3), and thrombotic (n = 1) issues. Conclusions: Although LVAD support is not without complications, patients spend the majority of time outside the hospital enjoying a good quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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