Background. Implantable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) were designed for permanent implant, but we began their use for bridge-to-transplant (BTTx) to study their safety and effectiveness. We review our experience in order to compare the BTTx lessons learned with the outcomes and goals of permanent implants. Methods. From December 1991 until January 2002, 264 patients received 277 LVADs for BTTx. We analyzed temporal trends in pre-LVAD patient factors and device-specific time-related complications. Results. Survival to transplant was 69%. Adverse event analysis demonstrated a high risk of infections (0.56, 1.28, and 1.88 per patient at 30 days and 3 and 6 months). HeartMate devices were more prone to infection than Novacor devices (p < 0.0001). Cerebral infarctions occurred less commonly than infections (0.15, 0.25, 0.30 at 30 days and 3 and 6 months), were more common in Novacor than HeartMate (p = 0.0001), and were decreased by the new Novacor Vascutek conduit (p = 0.07), but these were still slightly higher than the HeartMate (p = 0.04). Device failures occurred in 21 instances (all but one were in HeartMate devices [p = 0.04 vs Novacor]), but have significantly decreased (p < 0.0001) in HeartMate since 1998. Conclusions. Infections and device durability limit the chronic use of the HeartMate device, but device failures are decreasing. Novacor has fewer problems with infection and durability, and the new Vascutek conduit will reduce, but not eliminate, strokes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine