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Prior studies have found that caregivers of chronically ill patients, including those with heart failure, have significant stress and burden. Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) are a promising therapeutic modality for end stage heart failure. However, caregiver burden has not previously been studied in the caregivers of VAD patients.


We studied 31 caregivers of VAD patients receiving care at University of California, San Diego. Validated instruments tools, such as the Bakas Caregiving Outcomes scale and Oberst Caregiving Demand and Difficulty sub-scales, were used to measure the caregivers’ psychological burden.


Nearly half of the caregivers were the patient’s spouse or partner (55%) with a mean age of 57 years. When evaluating caregiver burden difficulty, 23/31 (74.2%) of the caregivers experienced little to no difficulty, 5/31 (16.1%) had mild difficulty, and 3/31 (9.6%) noted moderate difficulty. When assessing caregiver burden demand, 17/31 (54.8%) experienced little to no demand, 8/31 (25.8%) reported mild to moderate, 5/31 (16.1%) noted moderate to severe, and 1/31 (3.2%) had severe demand. Using the Baka’s scale, 27/31 (87.1%) reported that VADs were not disruptive to their lives.


In this single center study, we found that 80-90% of VAD caregivers had little caregiver burden difficulty or demand, which is significantly less than published studies of caregivers of patients with other chronic diseases. Further study will be required to validate these findings and compare them to other therapies for end stage heart failure, such as cardiac transplantation.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

JHLT Graphs.png (155 kB)
Caregiver Demand, Difficulty, and Outcomes

JHLT Table.pdf (36 kB)
Questionnaire results

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