Abstract 16736: Does Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Implantation Affect the Driving Patterns in Patients With End Stage Heart Failure?
Objective: The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recently released recommendations stating stable patients with LVAD may drive a private vehicle 2 months after implantation. Objective evidence supporting this recommendation is limited. We sought to compare data regarding driving habits before and after LVAD implantation.
Methods: A standard questionnaire addressing the driving patterns before and after the LVAD implantation was sent to all patients who received an LVAD between July 2009 and February 2014.
Results: Ninety four of 124 patients responded to the survey and comprised the study cohort. Average age was 58 years, 69.2% were men and 77.7% were on bridge to transplant. Prior to LVAD implantation, all 94 patients were living at home, 33% were employed, and 87 (93%) were driving. After LVAD implantation, 64 (69%) patients indicated that they drove and 41% drove more than 30 minutes daily. Patients who drove with LVAD, were younger (56 vs 62 years, p=0.02) and were often advised by the healthcare provider that they can drive after the LVAD (p= 0.004). 31% patients driving prior to LVAD developed a fear and stopped driving and 4 out of 7 patients not driving before, started driving after LVAD (p<0.0001). Most patients (56%) initiated driving between weeks 2 and 8 after discharge. 25% of patients experienced alarms while driving (11 related to batteries) and all were safely addressed. One patient had syncope and motor vehicle accident without fatalities. 12% were happy when advised not to drive, 94% believe driving positively impacts quality of life and 26% believe that LVAD affects the driving ability.
Conclusion: In a large single center study of patients supported with continuous flow LVAD therapy, we found that most patients returned to safe driving. A minority of patients had LVAD associated alarms that were easily addressed. We suggest inclusion of driving habits in large LVAD registries to provide greater clarity on the safety of driving while supported with LVAD.
Author Disclosures: M. Pinninti: None. C. Rivera: None. C. Cho: None. V. Thohan: None. O. Cheema: None. T. Hastings: None. J. Crouch: None. F. Downey: None. N. Sulemanjee: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.