S D Med 2019 Jan;72(1):19-26
University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The number of people older than 65 will double by 2060, and with it, the number of people suffering from heart failure will also surge. In the United States, it is estimated that there are close to 250,000-500,000 endstage/ advanced heart failure cases. Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) is an evolving advanced therapy for end-stage heart failure. MCS can be an interim measure along with acute mechanical circulatory support measures including but not limited to the intra-aortic balloon pump, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or temporary ventricular assist devices such as Impella, or MCS can be a more prolonged and ambulatory measure in conjunction with an implantable, durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD). As the technology of LVADs advances, the complication rate is decreasing, and the living LVAD patient population is expanding. This indicates that the probability of a non-heart failure specialist encountering these patients is also on the rise. In this article, we aim to expand the familiarity and basic knowledge of non-heart failure specialists by detailing the concepts and complications of LVADs, enabling them to more comfortably manage these patients.
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