Does a Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Program Improve Patients' and Caregivers' Emotional State in LVAD Patients?

Silvia Rossi Ferrario, Daniela Bacich, Laura Beltrame, Gianluigi Balestroni, Massimo Pistono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few studies evaluated the effect of cardiac rehabilitation programs on perceived emotional and health status of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) patients, and none explored their effect on caregivers' strain. We enrolled 119 adult LVAD patients, together with their caregivers (n = 91), in two Rehabilitation Institutes that provided inpatient multidisciplinary activities. At admittance and prior to discharge they completed questionnaires evaluating patient emotional state and subjective perception of health status, caregiver strain, and patient and caregiver perception of the VAD. Six months after discharge, patients and caregivers were contacted again and asked specific questions about their quality of life. Patients' state anxiety and depression symptoms significantly diminished at discharge (0.000), whereas their perception of general health status rose (0.000). Caregivers' perceived strain also significantly decreased (0.001) and the perceived device management skill grew both for patients and caregivers (0.000). A substantial amount (36%) of psychologically frail patients and caregivers, although improving their emotional condition, never reached that of the less frail subjects. At the 6-month follow-up, both patients and caregivers appeared stable in evaluating respectively their general health and their caregiving-related strain, compared to discharge. Our data show that a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation program improves the emotional state of LVAD patients and of their caregivers, even in psychologically frailer subjects. Team approach makes patients and caregivers self-confident about device management, increasing their knowledge, clarifying their doubts, and encouraging them to handle the difficulties met during the rehabilitation period, suggesting strategies to cope with daily life at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-233
Number of pages5
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Heart Failure/psychology
  • Heart-Assist Devices/psychology
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Stress, Psychological/diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


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