If someone is diagnosed with terminal heart disease, one of the few treatment options that is available is LVAD implementation. This is a left ventricular assist device that is basically a mechanical pump. It’s inserted into the chest of a patient so that blood can continue to pump blood throughout the circulatory system. It’s often compared to an artificial heart, but this isn’t 100% accurate as a comparison. It’s designed more to help a heart do its job.
Statistics on LVAD
1. One of the most common LVAD devices is the HeartMate II. It measures approximately 3 inches in length and weighs approximately 10 ounces.
2. There is a 58% survival rate at 2 years with HeartMate II continuous flow LVAD.
3. The Heartmate II can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute.
4. 46% of patients who received a continuous flow [CF] LVAD had no additional operation for device maintenance or replacement and did not suffer from a stroke either.
5. 68%. That’s the 1 year survival rate for patients who have a CF LVAD.
6. There’s a 91% survival rate at the 6 month mark and there are 300 centers in the world today that currently perform LVAD surgeries on a regular basis.
7. In total, more than 10,000 patients have been implanted with HeartMate II through trial enrollment and commercial use worldwide.
8. Survival rates are much lower for passive flow [PF] devices. The one year survival rate is 55%, but the two year survival rate is just 24%.
9. The average person with a CF LVAD has only 2.64 hospitalization per year after implantation of the device.
10. Patients with LVADs can be discharged from the hospital and have an acceptable quality of life while waiting for a donor heart to become available.
11. 300,000. That’s the number of patients in the United States alone that qualify for an LVAD because of terminal heart disease.
12. The total number of Americans who are suffering from some form of heart failure right now: 5.7 million.
13. 1 million hospitalizations each year are directly associated with some form of heart failure.
14. The 5 year survival rate from a diagnosis that requires an LVAD is less than 50%.
15. 20% of the people who are diagnosed with advanced heart failure are under the age of 65.
16. 2.2 million people in the world today would be medically qualified for LVAD consideration.
17. 550,000 people will be diagnosed with the beginning stages of heart failure in the United States this year.
18. The direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the US was $39.2 billion in 2010.
19. About 100,000 people die every year because of the complications of heart disease.
20. LVADs currently have less than 10% market penetration because the costs are relatively high and insurance coverage of the procedure isn’t always 100%.
21. Chronic heart failure is a leading cause of death in the developed world, estimated to impact over 20 million people at any one time.
22. People who are given an LVAD are at an increased risk of suffering from a right ventricle failure after the procedure.
23. The average battery life of an LVAD: 4-6 hours. They can last up to 12 hours in some circumstances.
24. The number of UK recipients of an LVAD annually: 80.
25. Without an LVAD, the 1 year survival rates for someone with terminal heart disease are just 10%.
Understanding the LVAD Option
An LVAD is becoming more common as a treatment, but it still isn’t the gold standard for terminal heart disease. A complete replacement of the heart through an organ transplant is considered a better medical option. The only problem with the gold standard is that there isn’t enough donor hearts available for those that have terminal heart disease.
As technology in this field has continued to improve, the effectiveness of the LVAD has also increased. Using this treatment has been able to extend human life and even help people people to return to a normal lifestyle over time. Research has shown that a permanent LVAD can help to extend the life of those who are ineligible for some reason to receive a heart transplant, so it is entirely possible for transplant-eligible patients to receive the same benefit.
The immediate benefit is that patients are no longer short of breath or always feeling tired because of the advanced nature of heart disease. It allows the heart to actually rest from the extra levels of work that have been placed on it and normal functioning may be restored. As the statistics show, an LVAD is a very viable treatment option today.
A Growing Need
An LVAD might not be considered the first option today, but it is becoming a popular option as technology allows the pumps to come into smaller packages.
The statistics show that in the developed world, heart disease is becoming a massive problem. As the Baby Boomers continue into retirement, the costs of terminal health disease are going to just keep increasing. With billions of dollars already being spent to treat the issue, an LVAD becomes a viable option, even in transplant worthy patients, because it can improve the quality of life immediately.
Survival rates are climbing higher and that’s a good thing. Most people who are diagnosed with severe heart disease typically have less than 1 year to live on average. With this simple device, not only will nearly 70% of them achieve at least 1 year of life, but more than half will achieve a second year of life as well. Some patients even see a return of their heart to normal functioning.
Heart transplants might still be considered the gold standard today, but LVAD technology is quickly becoming a second gold standard. If obesity rates continue to climb as they are, then this is good news to hear because heart disease diagnoses are just going to keep increasing and may even begin at younger ages. An LVAD can help to extend life even if that happens.