Trends in the use and outcomes of ventricular assist devices among medicare beneficiaries, 2006 through 2011

Prateeti Khazanie, Bradley G. Hammill, Chetan B. Patel, Zubin J. Eapen, Eric D. Peterson, Joseph G. Rogers, Carmelo A. Milano, Lesley H. Curtis, Adrian F. Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objectives This study sought to examine trends in mortality, readmission, and costs among Medicare beneficiaries receiving ventricular assist devices (VADs) and associations between hospital-level procedure volume and outcomes. Background VADs are an option for patients with advanced heart failure, but temporal changes in outcomes and associations between facility-level volume and outcomes are poorly understood. Methods This is a population-based, retrospective cohort study of all fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure who received an implantable VAD between 2006 and 2011. We used Cox proportional hazards models to examine temporal changes in mortality, readmission, and hospital-level procedure volume. Results Among 2,507 patients who received a VAD at 103 centers during the study period, the in-hospital mortality decreased from 30% to 10% (p < 0.001), the 1-year mortality decreased from 42% to 26% (p < 0.001), and the all-cause readmission was frequent (82% and 81%; p = 0.70). After covariate adjustment, in-hospital and 1-year mortality decreased (p < 0.001 for both), but the all-cause readmission did not change (p = 0.82). Hospitals with a low procedure volume had higher risks of in-hospital mortality (risk ratio: 1.72; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.28 to 2.33) and 1-year mortality (risk ratio: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.24 to 1.93) than high-volume hospitals. Procedure volume was not associated with risk of readmission. The greatest cost was from the index hospitalization and remained unchanged ($204,020 in 2006 and $201,026 in 2011; p = 0.21). Conclusions Short- and long-term mortality after VAD implantation among Medicare beneficiaries improved, but readmission remained similar over time. A higher volume of VAD implants was associated with lower risk of mortality but not readmission. Costs to Medicare have not changed in recent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1404
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • heart failure
  • outcomes research
  • ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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