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.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.