Nearly 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure (HF). The American Heart Association predicts that the number of individuals diagnosed with HF will increase 46% by 2030. HF can’t be cured, but it can be managed with medications—until it reaches an advanced stage. At that point, a heart transplant or an implanted left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is the only long-term option for survival.
Since 2006, more than 20,000 patients have received LVADs as destination therapy, and this number is expected to increase. For this reason, nurses need to become more knowledgeable about—and confident in— caring for patients with these devices.
This article discusses nursing care of patients with LVADs for destination therapy, including device and medication management, potential complications, patient education, and psychosocial support for patients, home caregivers, and nurses.
Key Learning Outcomes
Heather Martonik, MSN, RNMartonik is a registered nurse in the coronary care unit at the Pulse Heart Institute at Multi-Care Health System in Tacoma, Washington.
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