Heart transplantation versus continuous-flow left ventricular assist device: Comprehensive cost at 1 year

Snehal R. Patel, Alan Sileo, Ricardo Bello, Sampath Gunda, Jenni Nguyen, Daniel Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background With health care reform firmly on the horizon, it is critical to understand the costs associated with new technologies such as continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) compared with well established treatments such as heart transplantation (HT). Scarce data exist describing the costs of these 2 therapies after 1 year of support. Methods and Results The study population consisted of 20 consecutive subjects who underwent implantation of a CF-LVAD and 20 consecutive subjects who underwent HT and survived ≥1 year. Comprehensive cost calculation included all direct and indirect costs from day of operation through 365 days and were inflation adjusted to 2010 US dollars. Hospital charges were converted to costs with the use of hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratios and were analyzed by time segment as well as cost center. The total 1-year cost was higher in the CF-LVAD group, although this difference did not reach statistical significance ($369,519 [interquartile range [IQR] $321,020-$520,395] vs $329,648 [IQR $278,924-$395,456]; P =.242). In both groups, the index admission constituted >50% of the total 1-year cost and the major drivers of expense by cost center were organ/device acquisition, room and board, and professional fees. Conclusions Patients surviving to 1 year on CF-LVAD support accrued costs similar to those of HT recipients; however, the total cost, at more than one-third of a million dollars, remains high. Reduction in the postoperative length of stay offers an avenue for significant cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Mechanical circulatory support
  • costs
  • heart transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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