Emergency department visits among patients with left ventricular assist devices
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Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly implanted to support patients with end-stage heart failure. These patients are at high risk for complications, many of which necessitate emergency care. While rehospitalization rates have been described, there is little data regarding emergency department (ED) visits. We hypothesize that ED visits are frequent and often require admission after LVAD implantation. We performed a retrospective review of patients in our health-care system followed by the advanced heart failure service for LVAD management after implantation between January 2011 and July 2015. We accounted for all ED visits in our system through February 2016, 7 months after the last implantation included. Clinically relevant demographic variables and ED visit details were recorded and analyzed to describe this population. We identified 81 patients with complete data, among whom there were 283 visits (3.49 visits/patient), occurring at a rate of approximately 7.3 ED visits per patient per year alive with LVAD. The most common reason for an ED visit is a complication related to bleeding (18% of visits), followed by chest pain (14%) and dizziness or syncope (13%). Thirty-six percent of patients were discharged from the ED without hospital admission. A growing populace with implanted LVADs represents an important population within emergency medicine. They are at risk for significant complications and frequently present to the ED. While many of these visits may be managed without hospital admission, this specialized patient group represents a potential area for improvement in provider education.
KeywordsLVAD Ventricular assist device CHF Emergency department Heart failure
Statistical support was provided by James Proudfoot, MS, at the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at University of San Diego California. OÖB was supported by the Swedish Heart–Lung Foundation, the Crafoords Foundation, Märta Winklers Stiftelse, and Thorsten Westerströms Stiftelse. MB was supported by the College of Physician and Surgeons of Ancona, Italy.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board prior to data collection.
Statement of human and animal rights
The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board prior to data collection
For this type of study, formal consent was not required
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