Background Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly used for mechanical support of end-stage heart failure. Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) confers a significant morbidity in LVAD patients, with rates of up to 30% at 5 years. We assessed predictors of index and recurrent GIB (rGIB) in LVAD patients to risk stratify patients and evaluate if endoscopic approach and intervention at index GIB impacted rGIB. Methods A retrospective chart review of all LVAD patients at our institution from 01/01/2006 to 31/10/2016 was completed. Predictors for index and recurrent GIB were analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was created using only statistically significant dependent variables and adjusted for demographic variables. Results A total of 77/214 (36%) patients developed GIB, and 38/214 (17.8%) developed rGIB. Destination therapy (P=0.01), longer duration of LVAD (P=0.03), and low albumin (<3.5 g/dL) (P<0.001) were associated with increased risk of index GIB. Charlson Comorbidity Index, heart failure etiology, and Medicare were predictors of index GIB on univariate analysis, but this was not seen on multivariate analysis. Performing an endoscopy with/without intervention, non-angioectasia lesions, and location of bleeding were not statistically significant predictors of rGIB. Longer duration of hospitalization appeared to be protective for rGIB on univariate analysis. Conclusions Index endoscopy and intervention is not associated with reduced risk of rGIB in LVAD patients. Several independent factors are associated with the risk of index GIB. Albumin is a potentially modifiable risk factor, and likely contributes to bleeding through poor nutrition. It is a surrogate marker for systemic illness, and may have pharmacologic implications.
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