Study supports the use of mechanical assistance

The success of long-term implantable ventricular assist devices (LVAD) or artificial hearts has led to their increased use in patients previously thought to be unsuitable for mechanical support. This study documents the shift in the demographic profile of patients in need of artificial hearts to a more high-risk group. Looking at clinical records of 131 consecutive recipients receiving LVAD as a bridge to transplantation, it was discovered that despite the patients' high-risk status, overall mortality rate remained high at 50%.

"The results continue to emphasize that patient selection is the predominant criteria for success in artificial heart programs, but that high-risk patients can be helped in experienced centers" states Dr.Vivek Rao, author of the article published in a recent issue of the Journal of Cardiac Surgery .

Mechanical circulatory assistance has emerged as a standard of care for the treatment of acute and chronic heart failure to conventional medical therapy. Results of this study could have implications for funding of artificial heart programs whereby more patients in the high-risk category will be candidates for mechanical assist.


Contact: Sharon Agsalda
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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