Thermal therapy for heart failure is recognized to improve clinical symptoms. We describe our experience with appendicular thermal therapy applied to a patient fitted with an extracorporeal left ventricular assist device (LVAD) who was wait-listed for a heart transplant. A 21-year-old male with end-stage heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy was fitted with a LVAD. His general condition stabilized after LVAD placement and the status of his heart failure has remained at NYHA class II for the past 13 months. However, his cardiac function did not sufficiently recover to discontinue LVAD support. We conducted appendicular thermal therapy using a steam foot bath and heated gloves for 2 weeks. Immediately after thermal therapy, his average sublingual temperature increased from 36.3 to 37.0 °C and the grade of mitral regurgitation, as well as LV ejection fraction and endothelial function improved. Furthermore, levels of oxidative and anti-oxidative stress markers decreased and increased, respectively, after 2 weeks of therapy. No complications developed. We conclude that appendicular thermal therapy was safe in this patient waiting for a heart transplant and who had an extracorporeal LVAD, and that the procedure might be beneficial for others with end-stage heart failure.
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