Improvements in technology and in the selection, care, and treatment of patients have led to wider clinical use of mechanical circulatory support. Considerable progress has been made with the use of left ventricular assist devices. Patients are currently maintained in outpatient facilities until a donor heart becomes available; recently, left ventricular assist devices have started to be used as permanent implants. This article outlines the steps that are taken to prepare the patient, the patient's family, and the medical staff for discharge from the hospital of a patient supported with a left ventricular assist device. Extensive technical and clinical training of the primary caregiver and the patient is required to prepare for discharge from the hospital. Data are rapidly accumulating that show that left ventricular assist devices are safe and efficacious for outpatient use. Similar success is expected in clinical trials of permanent left ventricular assist devices, suggesting that many more patients will benefit from this technology in the future.

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