Indexed on: 26 Feb '14Published on: 26 Feb '14Published in: Canadian Journal of Cardiology
Historically, cardiac transplantation is the only definitive therapy for mortality reduction, symptom reduction, and improved quality of life in advanced heart failure. Because of improvement in cardiovascular care there is now a growing number of patients such as the elderly and those with abundant comorbidity who are not eligible for cardiac transplant. Durable mechanical circulatory support is the new reality in the treatment of advanced heart failure in this population subset. The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) has evolved from humble origins as a short-term extracorporeal and pulsatile device into a durable intracorporeal continuous flow device capable of providing permanent support in the form of destination therapy (DT) LVAD. Data gathered from original landmark clinical trials including Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure (REMATCH), and the Heart Mate II Trial, and the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) provide insight into the type of patient and the timing in which to consider DT LVAD therapy. There are a number individual patient warning signs and symptoms that predate clinical decline; thus, identifying individuals who might benefit from a DT LVAD strategy. The adverse event burden that accompanies DT LVAD therapy cannot be ignored when considering LVAD as an adjunct to ongoing medical therapy. Trends in patient selection regarding mechanical circulatory support continue to evolve along with the technology. As more clinical outcome data are gathered we will continue to refine our patient selection criteria and timing of implant.