Therapies for Advanced Heart Failure Patients Ineligible for Heart Transplantation: Beyond Pharmacotherapy
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Globally, there are ∼ 26 million people living with heart failure (HF), 50% of them with reduced ejection fraction, costing countries billions of dollars each year. Improvements in treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including advanced HF, have allowed an unprecedented number of patients to survive into old age. Despite these advances, patients with HF deteriorate and often require advanced therapies. As the proportion of elderly patients in the population increases, there will be an increasing number of patients to be evaluated for advanced therapies and an increasing number that do not qualify for, won't be considered for, or decline orthotopic heart transplantation. The purpose of this article is to review the benefits of palliative care (PC), exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (ExCR), device therapy (cardiac resynchronization therapy and mitral clip), and mechanical circulatory support (MCS) in advanced HF patients who are transplant ineligible. PC interventions should be introduced early in the course of a patient's diagnosis to manage symptoms, address goals of care, and improve patient-centered outcomes. Further improvement in health-related quality of life as well as functional capacity can be achieved safely in patients with advanced HF through patient participation in ExCR. Device therapy and MCS can reduce HF hospitalizations and improve survival. In fact, early survival with MCS approaches that of heart transplantation. Despite their being transplant ineligible, there are a variety of treatment options available to patients to improve their quality of life, decrease hospitalizations, and potentially improve mortality.
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