Right ventricular failure (RVF) exposes ventricular assist device (VAD) recipients to a high risk of death, but its management has not yet been standardized. We report three separate management strategies used for VAD recipients that present with RVF at a single center: 1) Thoratec paracorporeal biventricular VAD implantation, 2) left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation with temporary CentriMag right ventricular assist device (RVAD), and 3) LVAD combined with inotropic therapy. We retrospectively compared the preoperative data, the clinical outcomes, and the rates of adverse events in 84 biventricular assist device (BiVAD) recipients and 89 LVAD recipients presenting with postoperative RVF (57 were treated with a temporary RVAD and 32 were managed medically). Risk factors for death were analyzed. The BiVAD recipients were significantly younger, more critically ill at the time of device implantation, and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, an intraaortic balloon pump, mechanical ventilation, inotropes, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation significantly more often (at the time of device implant) than the LVAD recipients with RVF. The 6 month mortality was comparable in the two groups: 44 BiVAD patients (52%) and 38 LVAD patients (43%). Age, previous cardiac surgery, low platelet count, increased creatinine levels, the use of preoperative mechanical ventilation, and the need for a temporary RVAD were associated with 6 month mortality. The occurrence of RVF at the time of device implantation is a severe situation; it is associated with excess mortality, even if it is managed using a BiVAD or a LVAD with a temporary RVAD, probably because of the high preoperative risk profiles of the patients. In all cases, RVF must be managed quickly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering