The National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a working group in March 2008 to discuss how therapies for heart failure (HF) might be best advanced using clinical trials involving left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). This group opined that the field was ready for a trial to assess the use of long-term ventricular assist device therapy in patients who are less ill than patients currently eligible for destination therapy, which resulted in the Randomized Evaluation of VAD InterVEntion before Inotropic Therapy (REVIVE-IT) pilot study. The specific objective of REVIVE-IT was to compare LVAD therapy with optimal medical management in patients with less advanced HF than current LVAD indications to determine if wider application of permanent LVAD use to less ill patients would be associated with improved survival, quality of life, or functional capacity. REVIVE-IT represented an extraordinary effort to provide data from a randomized clinical trial to inform clinicians, scientists, industry, and regulatory agencies about the efficacy and safety of LVAD therapy in a population with less advanced HF. Despite significant support from the medical community, industry, and governmental agencies, REVIVE-IT failed to accomplish its goal. The reasons for its failure are instructive, and the lessons learned from the REVIVE-IT experience are likely to be relevant to any future study of LVAD therapy in a population with less advanced HF.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01369407.
Keywords: assisted circulation; clinical trials; heart failure; mechanical circulatory support; ventricular assist device.
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