Background: Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy is increasingly used in patients with advanced heart failure, and may have a significant psychological impact on both patients and their partners. Hence, we examined the distress levels of LVAD patients and their partners. Methods: Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were assessed at 3-4 weeks after implantation, and at 3 and 6 months follow-up in 33 LVAD patients (73% men; mean age=54±10 years) and 33 partners (27% men; mean age=54±11 years). Results: The prevalence of anxiety in LVAD partners was significantly higher compared to LVAD patients at baseline (48% vs. 23%, p=0.03) and 3 months follow-up (44% vs. 15%, p=0.02), but not at 6 months follow-up (p=0.43). No differences were found for depression and PTSD (ps.05). Scores between the LVAD patients and partners showed only a significant correlation at baseline between the anxiety, depression and PTSD score of the patient and the depression score of the partner (ranx=0.40, p=0.04; rdep=.40, p=0.04; rPSTD=0.46, p=0.05). Multivariable analyses showed no significant association between the role (patient vs. partner) and anxiety, depression and PTSD over time after correction for age, gender and clinical covariates. However, after correction for Type D personality and the use of psychotropic medication the LVAD partners showed significantly higher anxiety (F=6.95, p=0.01) and depression (F=3.94, p=0.04) scores over time compared to LVAD patients. Conclusion: LVAD partners had significantly higher levels of anxiety than LVAD patients. Emotional distress of LVAD partners should gain more attention, as partners are an essential source of support for LVAD patients.

anxiety, depression, health status, LVAD, partner, PTSD,
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Department of Cardiology

Brouwers, C, Denollet, J, Caliskan, K.C, de Jonge, N, Constantinescu, A.A, Young, Q.-R, … Pedersen, S.S. (2015). Psychological distress in patients with a left ventricular assist device and their partners: An exploratory study. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 14(1), 53–62. doi:10.1177/1474515113517607