Management of advanced heart failure in the elderly: Ethics, economics, and resource allocation in the technological era

Academic Article


  • Significant strides have been made in the durability, portability, and safety of mechanical circulatory support devices (MCS). Although transplant is considered the standard treatment for advanced heart failure, limits in organ availability leave a much larger pool of recipients in need versus donors. MCS is used as bridge to transplantation and as destination therapy (DT) for patients who will have MCS as their final invasive therapy with transplant not being an option. Despite improvements in quality of life (QOL) and survival, defining the optimal candidate for DT may raise questions regarding the economics of this approach as well as ethical concerns regarding just distribution of goods and services. This paper highlights some of the key ethical issues related to justice and the costs of life-prolonging therapies with respect to resource allocations. Available literature, current debates, and future directions are discussed herein. © 2012 Keith M. Swetz et al.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Swetz KM; Stulak JM; Dunlay SM; Gafford EF
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 1