Background: The successful use of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) as a bridge to heart transplantation has prompted our examination of quality of life (QOL) outcomes. The purposes of this study are to describe QOL in patients 1 to 2 weeks after LVAD implantation and to compare QOL in a smaller cohort of patients from before to 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Methods: Data were collected from a convenience sample of 81 patients who completed booklets of questionnaires that measure domains of QOL 1 to 2 weeks after LVAD insertion and from 30 of 81 patients who completed booklets at both the pre-implantation and post-implantation periods. Patients completed booklets of 6 to 8 self-reporting instruments, with acceptable reliability and validity. Data were analyzed using descriptive and comparative statistics (chi-square, Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon signed ranks tests) with p = 0.01 considered statistically significant. Results: One to 2 weeks after LVAD implantation, patients were quite satisfied with their lives, experienced moderately low amounts of stress, coped well, and perceived themselves as having good health and QOL, low symptom distress, and moderately low functional disability. Patients reported significantly better QOL, more satisfaction with health and functioning, and were significantly less distressed by symptoms from immediately pre-operatively to post-operatively. However, patients reported significantly more self-care disability and more dissatisfaction with socioeconomic areas of life from before to immediately after surgery. Psychological distress was low and did not change with time. Conclusion: Given that QOL improved from before to after LVAD implantation, our findings provide a springboard for investigation of the impact of LVADs on long-term QOL outcomes. Copyright © 2001 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.