Treatment choices for patients with advanced heart failure include pharmacological therapy, surgical intervention, and heart transplantation. Because no single procedure benefits all patients with end-stage heart failure, current research focuses on the application of mechanical assist devices. The authors describe a program that was developed to care for patients with VADs on a telemetry unit. A case study of the successful discharge of a patient with a VAD in place is also presented.

Patients with end-stage heart failure have little cause for optimism . Despite progress in pharmacological treatment, mortality rates for patients with advanced heart failure remain as high as 50% annually. In 1998, 4.7 million persons in the United States had heart failure, and cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death for persons more than 65 years old.11 

Treatment choices for heart failure include...

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