The criterion of proportionality in the activation of Left Ventricular Assist Device implants: the method of “four boxes” to analyze the pre-implant phase
Life-saving technologies have completely changed the normal conception of medical treatments. Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD) can prolong survival for patients who are not candidates for heart transplantation. In order to analyze the pre-implantation phase, which involves a shared-decision making process before activation of the device, attention should be paid to the criterion of “proportionality” in order to properly assess the risks and benefits of implantation.
The aim of our analysis is to provide an useful tool for the assessment of LVAD proportionality during the physicians’ decision making.
The method of the “four boxes”, developed by Jonsen et al, was chosen to analyze the notion of proportionality and the other main ethical issues regarding LVAD activation in adult patients.
Medical issues are not the sole factors, which influence the choice of implantation by patients. Indeed, patient preferences, his/her quality of life, and contextual features should be taken into consideration when proposing LVADs: these factors are as important as clinical issues where outcomes are concerned.
In order to assess the proportionality of such a device, we present, discuss and examine, in the framework of the pre-implant phase, the content of each topic treated by the “four boxes method”, that is, an essential tool for the assessment of the proportionality of the treatment for LVAD candidates