Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) are increasingly used in advanced heart failure patients. Recent studies suggest that low socioeconomic status (SES) predicts worst survival after heart transplantation. Both individual-level and neighborhood-level SES (nSES) have been linked to cardiovascular health; however, the impact of SES in CF-LVAD patients remains unknown. We hypothesized that SES is a major determinant of CF-LVAD candidacy and postimplantation outcomes. A retrospective chart review was conducted on 362 patients between February 2009 and May 2016. Neighborhood-level SES was measured using the American Community Survey data and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality SES index score. Individual-level SES was self reported. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression determined survival statistics. Patients in the highest SES tertile were older (58 ± 13 vs. 53 ± 14; p < 0.001), less likely to be black or Hispanic (26% vs. 70%; p < 0.001), more likely to be married (87% vs. 65%; p < 0.001), more likely to have private insurance (50% vs. 39%; p < 0.001), and more likely to have employment (29% vs. 15%; p < 0.001) compared with patients in the lowest tertile. Low nSES was associated with a decreased risk of death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.580; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.347–0.970; p = 0.038) in comparison to the high nSES. However, after adjusting for baseline clinical morbidities, the relationship was no longer present. When selecting patients for a LVAD, SES should not be thought of as an immutable risk factor. Carefully selected low-SES patients could be safely implanted with CF-LVAD with outcomes comparable to high-SES patients.
From the *Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
†Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center – New York Presbyterian, New York, New York.
Submitted for consideration November 2018; accepted for publication in revised form February 2019.
Disclosure: Dr. Naka received consulting fees from Thoratec. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
This study was supported by Lisa and Mark Schwartz and the Program to Reverse Heart Failure at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University.
Correspondence: Veli K. Topkara, Center for Advanced Cardiac Care, Columbia University Medical Center – New York Presbyterian, 622 West 168th St, PH10-203A, New York, NY. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.