Background: Caregiving for heart failure (HF) patients is burdensome. We examined differences in caregiver burden for 3 groups of older advanced HF patients: (1) supported with mechanical circulatory support (MCS) before heart transplantation (HT MCS), (2) awaiting transplant without MCS (HT non-MCS), and (3) prior to long-term MCS and factors associated with burden. Method: From October 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018, we enrolled 276 caregivers for HF patients from 13 U.S. sites: 85 HT MCS, 96 HT non-MCS, and 95 prior to long-term MCS. At enrollment, caregivers completed the Oberst Caregiving Burden Scale (15 items, 2 subscales: time (range = 1-5; higher score = more time spent on task) and difficulty (range = 1-5; higher score = higher difficulty of task) and other measures. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, ANOVA, chi-square tests, and linear regression. Result: Overall, caregivers were aged 60.8 ± 9.8 years and predominantly white, female, spouses, well educated, and reported ≥1 comorbidities. Caregivers overall reported a moderate amount of time spent on tasks and slight task difficulty. Caregivers for HT non-MCS candidates reported significantly less perceived time spent on tasks than caregivers for HT MCS candidates and caregivers for patients prior to long-term MCS (2.2 ± 0.74 vs 2.4 ± 0.74 vs 2.5 ± 0.71, respectively, p = 0.02) and less perceived difficulty of tasks (1.2 ± 0.33 vs 1.4 ± 0.53 vs 1.4 ± 0.54, respectively, p = 0.01). Caregiver and patient factors were associated with caregiver burden. Conclusions: Prior to HT and long-term MCS, caregiver burden was low to moderate. Caregiver factors were predominantly associated with caregiver burden. Understanding caregiver burden and factors affecting caregiver burden may enhance preoperative advanced therapies discussions and guide caregiver support.
- heart failure
- heart transplant
- mechanical circulatory devices