Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 663-669

First online:

Mechanical circulatory support for elderly heart failure patients

  • Craig R. ButlerAffiliated withDivision of Cardiology, 2C2 Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Center, University of Alberta Email author 
  • , Bodh I. JugduttAffiliated withDivision of Cardiology, 2C2 Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Center, University of AlbertaCardiovascular Research Group, University of Alberta

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End-stage systolic heart failure is an increasingly common problem in elderly patients and is associated with high cost, poor quality of life, and poor outcomes. Mechanical circulatory support is a promising therapy as both a bridge to transplantation and destination therapy. Elderly patients are frequently ineligible for heart transplantation because of their age and comorbidities, and the application of mechanical circulatory support for destination therapy in this population is not well defined. A review of the literature was undertaken to better characterize our experience to date with mechanical circulatory support in older heart failure populations. Mechanical circulatory support is being employed increasingly for destination therapy indications in older patients. The newer continuous flow devices appear to have disproportionate advantage in elderly patients, which has translated into marked improvement in 1- and 2-year survival. The rational implementation of MCS devices in elderly heart failure patients needs to focus on (1) continuous flow devices that appear to have particular benefit in this population, (2) extensive pre-MCS assessment including variables relating to frailty, and (3) intervening before these patients develop cardiogenic shock. More data are needed on the cost-benefit analysis of routine use of CF devices as destination therapy in elderly patients with heart failure.


Mechanical circulatory support Left ventricular assist device Systolic heart failure Elderly