Continuous flow left ventricular assist device improves functional capacity and quality of life of advanced heart failure patients

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Apr 27;55(17):1826-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.12.052.


Objectives: This study sought to assess the impact of continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) on functional capacity and heart failure-related quality of life.

Background: Newer continuous-flow LVAD are smaller and quieter than pulsatile-flow LVADs.

Methods: Data from advanced heart failure patients enrolled in the HeartMate II LVAD (Thoratec Corporation, Pleasanton, California) bridge to transplantation (BTT) (n = 281) and destination therapy (DT) (n = 374) trials were analyzed. Functional status (New York Heart Association [NYHA] functional class, 6-min walk distance, patient activity scores), and quality of life (Minnesota Living With Heart Failure [MLWHF] and Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaires [KCCQ]) were collected before and after LVAD implantation.

Results: Compared with baseline, LVAD patients demonstrated early and sustained improvements in functional status and quality of life. Most patients had NYHA functional class IV symptoms at baseline. Following implant, 82% (BTT) and 80% (DT) of patients at 6 months and 79% (DT) at 24 months improved to NYHA functional class I or II. Mean 6-min walk distance in DT patients was 204 m in patients able to ambulate at baseline, which improved to 350 and 360 m at 6 and 24 months. There were also significant and sustained improvements from baseline in both BTT and DT patients in median MLWHF scores (by 40 and 42 U in DT patients, or 52% and 55%, at 6 and 24 months, respectively), and KCCQ overall summary scores (by 39 and 41 U, or 170% and 178%).

Conclusions: Use of a continuous flow LVAD in advanced heart failure patients results in clinically relevant improvements in functional capacity and heart failure-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking / physiology