Having a mechanical pump called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) surgically implanted can prolong the lives of people with end-stage heart failure. But the surgery and the device carry significant risk for harms, such as infections and stroke, making choosing whether to get one very difficult.
Using a shared decision making tool focused on LVAD improved patients’ knowledge about their treatment options’ potential benefits and risks compared to typical educational pamphlets given to patients, this PCORI-funded study found. The decision aid also helped them make initial decisions better aligned with their values. The results were reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.