Destination left ventricular assist device placement is increasing as a result of donor shortages and changing patient attitudes. As organ shortages become critical, LVAD programs become fundamental even in more remote regions of the world including island states. Here, we provide a look into the current state and availability of LVAD programs in island states.
A narrative review was performed using the World Health Organization Global Index Medicus and PubMed/MEDLINE databases to identify articles describing the island states having reported LVAD placements and programs. Additionally, INTERMACS reports were used. Data were retrieved and a review is presented describing the current state of LVADs in island states. The Caribbean region as a whole has a heart failure (HF) prevalence of 814 per 100,000 and Oceania 667 per 100,000 people. We estimate that over 3000 people in these islands need either a heart transplant or an LVAD.
For HF patients living in island regions, special attention should be paid to the inability of having access to specialized mainland medical care. The continuous quest for a solution to HF in island regions should include the establishing of high-quality LVAD programs in a transfer-network centralized/regionalized system to care for those patients not candidates for long-distance air-bridging.