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Complications in Patients With Ventricular Assist Devices

Barnes, Katrina MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.DCC.0000338867.24293.20

Heart failure affects more than 5 million people in the United States. The treatments of this disease include medical therapy, heart transplantation, and the implantation of ventricular assist devices. These devices are used in patients who are no longer responsive to conservative medical treatment, who are not candidates for a heart transplantation (destination therapy), who are awaiting a heart transplantation (bridge to transplantation), and who have acute heart failure and whose myocardial function is expected to return to normal (bridge to recovery). Although this therapy improves the mortality and quality of life among patients with heart failure, the devices also carry risk of multiple complications. This article discusses the acute and long-term complications of ventricular assist devices.

Although ventricular assist devices may improve mortality and quality of life among patients with heart failure, they carry the risk of complications. This article provides an overview of ventricular assist devices, their benefits, and complications.

Katrina Barnes, MSN, RN, obtained a degree in bachelor of nursing from Loyola University Chicago in 2001. In 2007, she graduated with a master's degree in nursing also from Loyola University Chicago. Currently, she is working at Loyola Medical Center in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Katrina Barnes, MSN, RN, 1232 Trinity Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188 (

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.