Between September 1992 and April 1995, 19 patients at the authors' institution received pneumatic, pulsatile left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) for bridging to cardiac transplantation. The mean (± SD) age of the patients was 51 ± 14 years (range, 19-64 years). Nine (47%) patients had endstage idiopathic cardiomyopathy, five (26%) had ischemic cardiomyopathy, and five (26%) other recipients were in cardiogenic shock caused by acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Fifteen (79%) patients were supported with an intraaortic balloon pump or centrifugal LVAD at the time of LVAD insertion (duration, 5.5 ± 4.1 days). Aprotinin was given to limit bleeding; heparin, followed by warfarin sodium, was used for anticoagulation. A vigorous exercise and nutrition protocol was followed. Cardiac index averaged 2.94 ± 0.87 L/min/m2 immediately after the implantation procedure. No patient required placement of a right VAD. Average duration of LVAD support was 45 ± 39 days (range, 3-153 days). Major complications included bleeding requiring reoperation (three patients); cerebrovascular accident (three patients); and severe dysrhythmias requiring direct current cardioversion (four patients). Fourteen (74%) patients underwent transplantation, with one patient still being mechanically supported. All of the patients receiving transplants were discharged from the hospital. Of the individuals who died while supported with the LVAD, 75% were patients with AMI. Timely application of LVADs as part of the interdisciplinary management of end-stage heart disease has generated excellent results for transplant candidates. Right ventricular dysfunction has not necessitated right VAD placement in the authors' experience. Patients with AMI have a higher risk of death while being supported with the device than do more chronically ill recipients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering