MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Larry A. Allen, MD, MHS
Associate Professor, Medicine
Associate Head for Clinical Affairs, Cardiology
Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure
Aurora, CO 80045
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Deciding whether or not to get a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is one of the most challenging medical decisions created by modern medicine.
LVADs improve overall survival but also come with serious risks and lifestyle changes. Particularly for older patients with multiple medical problems, this is a complex choice.
Our research group at the University of Colorado spent years systematically developing unbiased pamphlet and video decision aids for patients and caregivers. We also developed a clinician-directed decision support training for LVAD program staff. The DECIDE-LVAD trial studied the implementation and effectiveness of this decision support intervention with patients and their caregivers in 6 hospitals in the U.S. When compared to previously used education materials, the decision aids appeared to improve patients’ decision quality and lowered the total number of patients getting LVADs.