Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

End-of-life care helps heart to patients and families, study suggests

Date:
June 1, 2011
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
For patients with severe heart failure, an implanted mechanical pump known as a Left Ventricular Assist Device can be a life-sustaining treatment.

For patients with severe heart failure, an implanted mechanical pump known as a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) can be a life-sustaining treatment. Even though the technology involves risks, few patients and their families tend to talk explicitly about the "what ifs" before surgery takes place. In the June issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a team of Mayo Clinic researchers found that careful discussions at the bedside about patients' end-of-life preferences brought relief to families and eased subsequent medical care.

"Previous studies have looked at the ethics of LVAD surgery and the role of patient and family members when it comes to turning the device off," says lead author Keith Swetz, M.D., an internist and specialist in palliative medicine. "But these are complex patients and many things can happen. To our knowledge, this was the first study to investigate how to help patients and families to be proactive in decision-making before patients' quality of life is compromised."

The study looked at 19 patients dependent on LVAD as a long-term survival strategy rather than as a "bridge" to a heart transplant. Among them, 13 patients and their families discussed advanced care wishes with a palliative care team that included physicians and social workers. The study found the conversations provided guidance when adverse events occurred, such as when a patient fell after surgery and suffered brain damage. The study also found LVAD patients often presumed family members were aware of their end-of-life wishes, when, in fact, spouses and children were grateful to be guided in a conversation.

The study affirms the effectiveness of palliative care discussions before LVAD surgery, and provides guidelines for clinicians and hospitals about how to address end-of-life decision-making. "It can be a tough conversation for families to have but we found it didn't cause stress or loss of hope," Dr. Swetz says. "Instead, having the conversation brought relief and was ultimately reassuring for families and patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "End-of-life care helps heart to patients and families, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601131749.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2011, June 1). End-of-life care helps heart to patients and families, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601131749.htm
Mayo Clinic. "End-of-life care helps heart to patients and families, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601131749.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins