Post-operative heparin may not be required for transitioning patients with a HeartMate II left ventricular assist system to long-term warfarin therapy

Mark S. Slaughter, Yoshifumi Naka, Ranjit John, Andrew Boyle, John Conte, Stuart D. Russell, Keith D. Aaronson, Kartik S. Sundareswaran, David J. Farrar, Francis D. Pagani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Anti-coagulation with heparin is often used after left ventricular assist device implantation as a transition to long-term warfarin therapy. We retrospectively evaluated the effects of heparin use on thromboembolic and bleeding complications after implantation of the HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Methods: LVAD patients (n = 418) implanted as a bridge to transplant were divided into three groups: Group A patients (therapeutic, n = 118) received heparin and had a partial thromboplastin time (PTT) of >50 seconds on two or more occasions; Group B patients (sub-therapeutic, n = 178) had at least one PTT value in the range of 40 to 55 seconds; and Group C patients (no heparin, n = 122) had no PTT values >40 seconds. All patients were transitioned to warfarin and aspirin therapy. The following adverse events were evaluated: ischemic stroke; hemorrhagic stroke; pump thrombosis; bleeding requiring surgery; and bleeding requiring ≥2 units of packed red blood cells in 24 hours. Results: There was no difference in the percentages of patients with ischemic (5%, 4%, 3%) or hemorrhagic (3%, 3%, 5%) strokes or pump thrombosis (3%, 2%, 2%) after post-operative day (POD) 3 among Groups A, B and C, respectively. From PODs 3 to 30, the percentage of patients requiring transfusion for bleeding was significantly lower for Group C (18%) than for Groups A (32%) and B (26%) (p = 0.04); differences after 30 days were not significant. Multivariate analysis revealed that post-operative heparin use, low post-operative platelet count and low baseline hematocrit value were independent risk factors for bleeding events between PODs 3 and 30. Conclusions: In patients receiving the HeartMate II LVAD who were directly transitioned to warfarin and aspirin therapy without intravenous heparin there was no short-term increase in risk of thrombotic or thromboembolic events, and bleeding requiring transfusion was significantly reduced. Additional long-term follow-up is needed to evaluate possible late effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation

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