Functional status in left ventricular assist device-supported patients: a literature review.
The prevalence of advanced heart failure (HF) is increasing because of the aging population and improvements in HF management strategies. Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) technology and management continue to advance rapidly, and it is anticipated that the number of LVAD implants will increase. LVADs have been demonstrated to extend life and improve outcomes in patients with advanced HF. The purpose of this article is to review and synthesize the evidence on impact of LVAD therapy on functional status. Significant functional gains were demonstrated in patients supported by LVAD throughout the 1st year, with most improvement in distance walked and peak oxygen consumption demonstrated in the 1st 6 months. Interventions to enhance exercise performance have had inconsistent effects on functional status. Poor exercise performance was associated with increased risk of adverse events. Functional status improved with LVAD therapy, although performance remained substantially reduced compared with age-adjusted norms. There is tremendous need to enhance our understanding of factors influencing functional outcomes in this high-risk population.
Abshire, M; Dennison Himmelfarb, CR; Russell, SD
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