Partner's Heart Pump Can Burden Their Caregiver

From - March 7, 2018

Partner's Heart Pump Can Burden Their Caregiver

WEDNESDAY, March 7, 2018 -- A heart pump for someone with heart failure may come with a tradeoff: benefits for the patient, but more stress for the caregiver.

Researchers looked at 50 heart failure patients and their caregivers after the patients received a heart pump, called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

In the first month after receiving the device, the patients had significant improvements in quality of life. But their caregivers reported higher levels of stress, said Julie Bidwell, of Emory University School of Nursing in Atlanta, and colleagues.

However, while caregiver stress levels rose immediately after the patients received their implants, they returned to pre-implant levels within six months.

In addition, the researchers found that the quality of the patient-caregiver relationship affected post-implant satisfaction for both.

Initially, caregivers complained of lack of time for themselves, reduced social lives and physical strain, Bidwell's team said.

When you have heart failure, your heart is not pumping as effectively as it should. Everyday activities -- including walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries -- can become very difficult, according to the American Heart Association.

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