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Aims: Sexual dysfunction is common among patients with heart failure (HF) and considered an important hamper to quality of life. While implantation of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) may prolong and improve life in advanced HF, limited data are available on its impact on sexual function. The aim of this study is to evaluate sexual function in LVAD patients and compare this with patients after heart transplantation (HTx). Methods and results: Sexual activity and satisfaction of stable patients with durable LVAD or after HTx were evaluated using a validated questionnaire and visual analogue scale from 0 to 10. Data were collected from 31 patients (mean age 59 ± 12 years, 87% male), 17 after HTx and 14 with LVAD. Pleasure or satisfaction with sex was significantly higher in HTx patients (P = 0.0005). In total, 29% LVAD patients and 71% HTx patients reported content with sexual activity. Recalled satisfaction with sex life pre‐operation was comparable between the groups. During support, satisfaction with sex life using visual analogue scale was 7.6 ± 3.1 for HTx versus 3.9 ± 4.0 for LVAD patients (P = 0.017). In total, 11 LVAD patients (79%) reported specific problems in sexual function including erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness (8, 57%); problems with the LVAD, cable, or batteries (5, 36%); problems with orgasm (4,29%); and other problems such as fear of injury, feeling depressed, partner issues, self‐image, and pain (1, 7% each). Conclusion: Sexual dysfunction occurs in patients with LVAD support and may be more prominent than after HTx. Problems limiting sexual function related to physiological, psychological, and equipment merit consideration during follow‐up.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access