Shared Decision-Making for Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Rationale and Design of a Nationwide Dissemination and Implementation Project

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2021 Feb;14(2):e007256. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.120.007256. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


Background The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) has become a common medical option for patients with end-stage heart failure. Although patients' chances of survival may increase with an LVAD compared with medical therapy, the LVAD poses many risks and requires major lifestyle changes, thus making it a complex medical decision. Our prior work found that a decision aid for LVADs significantly increased decision quality for both patients and caregivers and was successfully implemented at 6 LVAD programs. Methods In follow-up, we are conducting a nationwide dissemination and implementation project, with the goal of implementing the decision aid at as many of the 176 LVAD programs in the United States as possible. Guided by the Theory of Diffusion of Innovations, the project consists of 4 phases: (1) building a network; (2) promoting adoption; (3) supporting implementation; and (4) encouraging maintenance. Developing an LVAD network of contacts occurs by using a national baseline survey of LVAD clinicians, existing professional relationships, and an internet-based strategy. A suite of resources targeted to promote adoption and support implementation of the decision aid into standard LVAD education processes are provided to the network. Evaluation is guided by the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance framework, where clinician and patient surveys and qualitative interviews determine the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance achieved. Conclusions This project is a true dissemination study in that it targets the entire population of LVAD programs in the United States and is unique in its use of social marketing principles to promote adoption and implementation. The implementation plan is intended to serve as a test case and model for dissemination and implementation of other evidence-based decision support aids and strategies.

Keywords: caregiver; diffusion of innovations; heart-assist devices heart failure; implementation science; maintenance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Decision Making, Shared
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Heart Ventricles*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans