Doctor, Will You Turn off My Lvad?

Doctor, Will You Turn off My Lvad?" (Case Study) (Left Ventricular Assist Device) (Case Study)

By The Hastings Center Report

  • Release Date: 2008-01-01
  • Genre: Life Sciences
Our rating: 5/5 stars

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Mr. P is a 62-year-old man with an extensive history of heart disease and severe heart failure. He underwent coronary bypass surgery ten years ago and has had two heart attacks in the past five years. His quality of life has been deteriorating due to his increasing inability to independently perform many daily activities. He currently lives with his wife and daughter. Eight months ago, as a result of severely debilitating stage IV heart failure, doctors implanted a Left Ventricular Assist Device into Mr. P's chest as so-called destination therapy. The LVAD helps the heart to maximize the volume of blood it pumps into the body. However, many of the device's controls, as well as its power source (a rechargeable battery), are outside the patient and connected to the pump by tubes and wires that pass through the patient's abdominal wall. Originally used only as "bridge" to support hospital-bound patients for whom a heart transplant was both urgent and imminent, LVADs are now also used as destination therapy for patients who are ineligible for a transplant. In such cases, patients are sent home with LVADs, which are considered the final stage of treatment for their heart failure.

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