heart assist devices, heart failure, rural population, urban population



  1. Alonso, Windy PhD, RN
  2. Hupcey, Judith E. EdD, CRNP, FAAN
  3. Kitko, Lisa PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
  4. Pozehl, Bunny PhD, APRN-NP, FHFSA, FAHA, FAAN
  5. Kupzyk, Kevin PhD


Background: The number of individuals with advanced heart failure (HF) receiving left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) is growing. Postimplantation LVAD recipients return home to both rural and urban locations. The impact of rural or urban living on postimplantation outcomes has not been adequately explored.


Objective: This cohort study examined adverse event-free survival, hospitalization-free survival, and all-cause mortality between rural and urban LVAD recipients in the first 2 years after implantation.


Methods: Data from LVAD recipients (N = 141) implanted at a single center in the northeastern United States were analyzed. Recipients of LVAD were designated as rural or urban by county of residence. Adverse events, hospitalizations, and survival time were examined using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.


Results: Thirty-seven percent of LVAD recipients in the cohort were rural. Two-thirds of all LVAD recipients experienced at least 1 adverse event (96/141, 68.1%). Although more urban recipients experienced adverse events, including death, rural versus urban models of both adverse events and survival were nonsignificant (adverse events: log-rank = 1.18, P = .28; hazard ratio [HR], 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-1.63; P = .89; survival: log-rank =2.81, P = .09; HR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.17-1.23; P = .12). Rural LVAD recipients experienced significantly more hospitalizations and shorter hospitalization-free survival (log-rank = 6.67, P = .009). However, the HR for survival was nonsignificant (HR, 1.5; 95% CI, 0.94-2.39; P = .08).


Conclusions: Frequent adverse events and hospitalizations are of ongoing concern for LVAD recipients. More data are necessary to understand why urban LVAD recipients may experience shorter survival time compared with rural counterparts. Hospitalization may serve as a protective factor for rural LVAD recipients.