Patients with advanced heart failure have limited treatment options despite advances in medical management. Ventricular assist devices represent a surgical option that offers improved end-organ function, survival, and quality of life. Postoperative nursing management involves the most complicated aspects of care following cardiac surgery as well as issues unique to advanced heart failure and mechanical circulatory support. Despite growing numbers of ventricular assist device implants, literature about the challenging care of patients following ventricular assist device implantation is limited. This article focuses on the physiological basis for postoperative nursing management strategies and the most important complications of which critical care nurses need to be aware.

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