Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have revolutionized the care of patients with advanced heart failure, yet still require concomitant medications in order to achieve the best possible clinical outcomes. Since the outset of routine placement of durable, continuous-flow LVADs, much of the medication management of these patients to date has been based on International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) guidance, most recently published in 2013. Since 2013, numerous multidisciplinary pharmacotherapy publications have increased the LVAD community’s understanding of best practices with respect to medications. We identified the major domains of LVAD medication management and conducted a comprehensive search of US National Library of Medicine MEDLINE ® database using keywords chosen to identify medication-related publications of significance dated 2013 or later. Trials pertaining to the HeartMate II and the HeartMate 3 LVADs (Abbott, Chicago IL) and the HeartWare HVAD System (Medtronic, Minneapolis MN) were chosen for inclusion. Highest priority for inclusion was given to prospective, randomized, controlled studies. Absent these, controlled trials (retrospective or prospective observational) were given next-highest consideration, followed by retrospective uncontrolled studies, and finally case series. Reference lists of qualified publications were reviewed to find any other publications of interest that were not discovered on initial search. Case reports were generally excluded, except where the insight gained was deemed to be uniquely pertinent. This document serves to provide a comprehensive review of the current understanding of optimal medication management in patients with durable, continuous-flow LVADs.
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