Patients' decision making process and expectations of a left ventricular assist device pre and post implantation

Lisa A. Kitko, Judith E. Hupcey, Barbara Birriel, Windy Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine patients' pre-implantation decision-making and pre and post-implantation expectations of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Background: LVADs have been shown to improve both quantity and quality of life of patients living with Stage D heart failure (HF). However, they also pose significant risks. Methods: 15 LVAD participants followed in a longitudinal study of Stage D HF patients were included in this thematic analysis. Results: Three themes were identified: no choice; I thought I would be doing better; I feel good, but now what. Evidence from pre-implantation to post-implantation suggested that patients' perceived expectations of quality of life improvement were not met. Conclusions: In light of their declining health, most patients felt their only alternative to implantation was death. In the post-implantation period, patients expected greater improvements in their quality of life. Evidence based guidelines for discussions of goals of care, post-implant expectations, and palliative care are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • Heart failure
  • Longitudinal
  • Palliative care
  • Qualitative
  • Ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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