Because of the poor prognosis of patients with advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation is widely used. Many centers have 1-year survival rates exceeding 80–90%, and 5-year survival rates above 70%. Infections, hypertension and kidney dysfunction caused by cyclosporine, rapidly progressive coronary atherosclerosis, and immunosuppressant-related cancers have been the major complications. The high cost and limited number of donor organs require careful patient selection early in the course.
Other surgical treatment options
Externally powered and implantable ventricular assist devices can be used in patients who require ventricular support either to allow the heart to recover or as a bridge to transplantation. The latest generation devices are small enough to allow patients unrestricted mobility and even discharge from the hospital. Continuous flow devices appear to be more effective than pulsatile flow devices. However, complications are frequent, including bleeding, thromboembolism, and infection, and the cost is very high, exceeding $200,000 in the initial 1–3 months.
Although 1-year survival was improved in the REMATCH randomized trial, all 129 patients died by 26 months.