Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are a common treatment for advanced heart failure (HF) to improve ventricular function, symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Many LVAD recipients travel long distances from rural areas for LVAD implantation and follow-up care. Individuals with HF in rural settings who have not undergone LVAD implantation have reported poor HRQOL. However, to date, no studies have compared HF-specific or generic HRQOL in rural and urban LVAD recipients. The purpose of this study was to compare generic and HF-specific HRQOL longitudinally from preimplantation to 1-, 3-, and 6- months postimplant in a cohort of rural and urban LVAD recipients (n = 95; rural n = 32 and urban n = 63). We measured generic HRQOL using the European Quality of Life Visual Analog Scale and HF-specific HRQOL with the quality of life domain of the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ). Latent growth curve modeling identified two phases of change in generic and HF-specific HRQOL: the initial response to LVAD between preimplantation and 1-month postimplant and the subsequent change between 1- and 6-months postimplant. Comparable improvements in generic HRQOL were noted in rural and urban LVAD recipients during both phases of change. Urban LVAD recipients had greater initial improvements in HF-specific HRQOL (KCCQ) compared with rural recipients (13.0 ± 5.6, p =.02), but subsequent improvements were similar among rural and urban recipients. Ongoing assessment of generic and HF-specific HRQOL is necessary during LVAD therapy.
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