Exercise in patients with left ventricular devices: The interaction between the device and the patient

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Progress in cardiovascular diseases


Advances in the engineering of surgically implanted, durable left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) has led to improvements in the two-year survival of patients on LVAD support, which is now comparable to that of heart transplant (HT) recipients. And with the advent of magnetic levitation technology, both the survival rate and average time on LVAD support are expected to improve even further. However, despite these advances, the functional capacity of patients on LVAD support remains reduced compared to those who received a HT. A few small clinical trials have shown improvement in functional capacity with exercise training. Peak oxygen uptake improves modestly (10%-20%) with exercise training, suggesting a possible celling-effect linked to the ability of the LVAD to increase flow during exercise. This paper reviews both (a) the effect of the LVAD on the cardiorespiratory responses during a single, acute bout of exercise up to maximum and (b) the central and peripheral adaptations that occur among patients with an LVAD who undergo an exercise training regimen. We also address the tenets of the exercise prescription that are unique to patients with a durable LVAD.

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ePub ahead of print