Although an estimated 16,500 Americans annually could benefit from a heart transplant, in 1999 only 2184 heart transplants were performed in the United States. These statistics emphasize the severity of the shortage of available hearts for transplantation. Circulatory support provided by an implantable Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) that meets Food and Drug Administration approval as destination therapy is a promising alternative that impacts patient survival. As medical technology creates smaller implantable battery-powered circulatory assist devices that allow patients to safely live independently in the community, nursing’s role must change in response. Long-term LVAD patients require strategic, anticipatory planning for extended care and emergency preparedness for mechanical support. Therefore, practitioners must familiarize themselves with these devices as they care for larger numbers of patients with implanted LVADs who require assessment and treatment of noncardiac problems during their lengthened lifespan.
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Heart Failure| November 01 2003
Left Ventricular Assist Devices as Destination Therapy
Virginia Fidrocki Mason, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, CCRN;
From Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Brighton, Mass (Dr Mason), and Riverview Medical Center, Putnam, Conn (Ms Jakubisin Konicki).
Reprint requests to: Virginia Fidrocki Mason, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, CCRN, Critical Care Nursing Educator, Caritas Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, 736 Cambridge St, Our Lady Hall Room 515, Brighton, MA 02135 (Virginia_Mason@CCHCS.org).
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Annette Jakubisin Konicki, MSN, RN, ANP, FNP, CCRN
AACN Adv Crit Care (2003) 14 (4): 488–497.
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Virginia Fidrocki Mason, Annette Jakubisin Konicki; Left Ventricular Assist Devices as Destination Therapy. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 November 2003; 14 (4): 488–497. doi:
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