Objective: With increasing numbers of implantations, left ventricular assist device programs can put a financial strain on a hospital unless an efficient and safe outpatient program is developed. However, the left ventricular assist device is not widely recognized in the medical community as being reliable enough to support a patient at home. We reviewed our experience with these patients at home to assess the safety and the benefits of such a program. Methods: Our institutional 6-year experience with 90 consecutive recipients of a wearable left ventricular assist device was analyzed. Results: Forty-four (49%) of the 90 patients who received TCI vented-electric left ventricular assist devices (Thermo Cardio-systems, Inc, Woburn, Mass) were discharged, spending a total of 4546 days (12.5 years) at home with an average of 103 ± 16 days of outpatient support (range 9-436 days). Of these 44 patients, all were successfully bridged to transplantation (42 patients, 96%) or planned explantation (2 patients, 4%). None of the outpatients died. The cumulative events per outpatient month were 0.020 for bleeding, 0.053 for device infection, 0.0068 for thromboembolus, and 0.020 for major malfunctions. Our estimated average cost to bridge a patient to transplantation or explantation once discharged is $13,200 and as an inpatient over the same length of time, including only room and board, is $165,200. Thirty percent of outpatients were able to return to work or school, 33% to sexual activity, and 44% to driving. All outpatients performed activities of daily living. Conclusion: Current left ventricular assist device technology provides effective and economical outpatient support and is associated with limited morbidity and a satisfactory quality of life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine