Durable mechanical circulatory support devices.
Individuals afflicted with advanced systolic heart failure who have become unresponsive to standard medical and electrical therapies are categorized as having American Heart Association stage D heart failure. The high mortality rates for medically treated stage D heart failure have not improved in the last 10 years, and patients at this advanced stage require either palliative measures or surgical management of heart failure. In recent years, surgically implanted ventricular assist devices (VADs) have become available for long-term use and are now commonly used as a therapy for advanced heart failure. The data generated from this early experience have clearly shown that VADs improve survival and quality of life in patients with advanced heart failure when implanted as a temporary measure or as long-term support. However, with a growing heart failure population, there is much work to be done to continually improve VAD technology, patient selection criteria, and postimplantation management to define the optimal role for assist devices in the management of systolic heart failure.
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