Overall Quality of Life in Ventricular Assist Device Patients

Student Author(s)

Nora Kirk

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jackie Iseler, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, Karen Hadzic, RN, MSN and Susan Dunn, PhD, RN

Document Type


Event Date



Recent studies have shown increased use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a new pathway in the treatment of heart failure patients. VADs are used in patients waiting for heart transplant or as destination therapy. The purpose of this research was to examine patients’ overall quality of life (QOL) based on their age and type of therapy. This research was done using Dorothy Johnson’s Behavior System Model, in which the patient is a behavioral system and is capable of adapting to stressors effectively and efficiently. VAD coordinators and Intermacs-trained RNs had previously collected data in person, by giving patients the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire to complete before their implant, and then again post-implant at three, six and twelve months. This questionnaire was used to determine patients’ overall QOL, as determined by a single numeric score. There were 84 patients, 13 females and 71 males, ranging in age from 19 to 80 years. Patients were drawn from a sample of heart failure patients either awaiting heart transplant or receiving the implant as destination therapy at a transplant clinic of a large hospital in Michigan. Independent t-tests were completed using SPSS software. Results include a higher mean age of patients receiving destination therapy. Conclusions regarding QOL based on age or therapy are insignificant. Limitations are a small sample size, a small number of females, and data collected from one clinic. Implications for future research include how nursing care can be adapted for these patients to help improve their QOL.

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