Outcomes Associated With Left Ventricular Assist Devices Among Recipients With and Without End-stage Renal Disease

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Abstract

Importance

Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are widely used both as a bridge to heart transplant and as destination therapy in advanced heart failure. Although heart failure is common in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), little is known about outcomes after LVAD implantation in this population.

Objective

To determine the utilization of and outcomes associated with LVADs in nationally representative cohorts of patients with and without ESRD.

Design, Setting and Participants

We described LVAD utilization and outcomes among Medicare beneficiaries after ESRD onset (defined as having received maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant) from 2003 to 2013 based on Medicare claims linked to data from the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), a national registry for ESRD. We compared Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD to a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries without ESRD.

Exposures

ESRD (vs no ESRD) among patients who underwent LVAD placement.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was survival after LVAD placement.

Results

Among the patients with ESRD, the mean age was 58.4 (12.1) years and 62.0% (96) were male. Among those without ESRD, the mean age was 62.2 (12.6) years and 75.1% (196) were male. From 2003 to 2013, 155 Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD (median and interquartile range [IQR] days from ESRD onset to LVAD placement were 1655 days [453-3050 days]) and 261 beneficiaries without ESRD in the Medicare 5% sample received an LVAD. During a median follow-up of 762 days (IQR, 92-3850 days), 127 patients (81.9%) with and 95 (36.4%) without ESRD died. more than half of patients with ESRD (80 [51.6%]) compared with 11 (4%) of those without ESRD died during the index hospitalization. The median time to death was 16 days (IQR 2-447 days) for patients with ESRD compared with 2125 days (IQR, 565-3850 days) for those without ESRD. With adjustment for demographics, comorbidity and time period, patients with ESRD had a markedly increased adjusted risk of death (hazard ratio, 36.3; 95% CI, 15.6-84.5), especially in the first 60 days after LVAD placement.

Conclusions and Relevance

Patients with ESRD at the time of LVAD placement had an extremely poor prognosis, with most surviving for less than 3 weeks. This information may be crucial in supporting shared decision-making around treatments for advanced heart failure for patients with ESRD.

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