In patients with end-stage heart failure, advanced therapies such as heart transplantation and long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS) with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) have to be considered. LVADs can be implanted as a bridge to transplantation or as an alternative to heart transplantation: destination therapy. In the Netherlands, long-term LVAD therapy is gaining importance as a result of increased prevalence of heart failure together with a low number of heart transplantations due to shortage of donor hearts. As a result, the difference between bridge to transplantation and destination therapy is becoming more artificial since, at present, most patients initially implanted as bridge to transplantation end up receiving extended LVAD therapy. Following LVAD implantation, survival after 1, 2 and 3 years is 83%, 76% and 70%, respectively. Quality of life improves substantially despite important adverse events such as device-related infection, stroke, major bleeding and right heart failure. Early referral of potential candidates for long-term MCS is of utmost importance and positively influences outcome. In this review, an overview of the indications, contraindications, patient selection, clinical outcome and optimal time of referral for long-term MCS is given.
- Left ventricular assist device
- Advanced heart failure
- Adverse events
- VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICE