Predicting post-LVAD outcome: Is there a role for cognition?

Marykay A. Pavol, Amelia K. Boehme, Joshua Z. Willey, Joanne R. Festa, Ronald M. Lazar, Shunichi Nakagawa, Jesus Casida, Melana Yuzefpolskaya, Paolo C. Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Cognition has been found to influence risk of stroke and death for a variety of patient groups but this association has not been examined in heart failure (HF) patients undergoing left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implant. We aimed to study the relationship between cognition, stroke, and death in a cohort of patients who received LVAD therapy. It was hypothesized that cognitive test results obtained prior to LVAD placement would predict stroke and death after surgery. Methods: We retrospectively identified 59 HF patients who had cognitive assessment prior to LVAD placement. Cognitive assessment included measures of attention, memory, language, and visualmotor speed and were averaged to produce one z-score variable per patient. Survival analyses, censored for transplant, evaluated predictors for stroke and death within a follow-up period of 900 days. Results: For patients with stroke or death during the follow up period, the average cognitive z-score predicted post-LVAD stroke (HR = 0.513, 95% CI = 0.31–0.86, p = 0.012) and death (HR = 0.166, 95% CI = 0.06–0.47, p = 0.001). Cognitive performances were worse in the patients who suffered stroke or died. No other variable predicted stroke and death within the follow up period when the cognitive variable was in the model. Conclusion: Cognitive performance was predictive of post-LVAD risk of stroke and death. Results are consistent with findings from other studies in non-LVAD samples and may reflect early signs of neurologic vulnerability. Further studies are needed to clarify the relationship between cognition and LVAD outcomes in order to optimize patient selection, management, and advanced care planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-242
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cognition
  • LVAD
  • death
  • outcomes
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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