Improving outcomes with long-term “destination” therapy using left ventricular assist devices

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Abstract

Objective

Destination therapy experience using long-term left ventricular assist devices was analyzed relative to the benchmark Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure trial to evaluate the potential for improving outcomes with this groundbreaking therapy for advanced heart failure.

Methods

The largest single-center experience with destination therapy in the United States (Utah Artificial Heart Program, LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT) was retrospectively analyzed. All destination therapy recipients (n = 23) presented with chronic, advanced heart failure, meeting indications for destination therapy adopted from the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure trial. All received HeartMate left ventricular assist devices (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, Calif), with 87% receiving an improved XVE model. Advanced practice guidelines were implemented using a multidisciplinary approach. Survivals (Kaplan-Meier, log-rank analyses) and adverse events (Poisson regression) were compared with those of the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure left ventricular assist device group (n = 68).

Results

Survival in the destination therapy group was significantly increased (P = .007), with an overall reduction in mortality of 66%. The 2-year survival was 77% for destination therapy compared with 29% for the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure left ventricular assist device group (P < .0001). The 1-year survival was 77% for destination therapy compared with the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure left ventricular assist device rate of 52% (P = .036). Adverse events decreased by 38% (3.90 per patient-year in the destination therapy group compared with the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure left ventricular assist device rate of 6.32). Factors related to severity of illness met Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure-like criteria for both groups.

Conclusions

This analysis provides evidence that long-term destination therapy can be improved well beyond the pioneering experience of the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure trial. With continued evolution of devices, management, and patient selection, outcomes approaching those of heart transplantation may be possible.

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