Objectives: We sought to determine whether cardiac transplant recipients who required a bridge to transplantation with an implantable left ventricular assist device had a different outcome than patients who underwent transplantation without such a bridge. Methods: A retrospective study of 256 cardiac transplants from 1992 to 1996 included 53 patients who received the HeartMate left ventricular assist device and 203 patients who had no left ventricular assist device support. Results: Left ventricular assist device transplants increased from 8% of all transplants in 1992 (n = 63) to 32% in 1995 (n = 65) and 43% in 1996 (n = 14 year to date). Patients with and without left ventricular assist device had similar age and sex distributions. Left ventricular assist device recipients were larger (body surface area 1.96 vs 1.86 m2, p = 0.004). They were more likely to have ischemic cardiomyopathy (70% vs 45%, p = 0.001) and type O blood group (51% vs 34%, p = 0.06). All patients with left ventricular assist device and 42% of those without had undergone previous cardiac operations by the time of transplantation (mean number per patient 1.5 vs 0.3, p < 0.001). More patients in the left ventricular assist device group had anti-HLA antibodies before transplantation (T-cell panel reactive antibody level >10% in 66% of left ventricular assist device group vs 15% of control group, p < 0.0001). Waiting time was longer for the left ventricular assist device than for patients in status I without a left ventricular assist device (median 88 vs 37 days, p = 0.002). There was no difference in length of posttransplantation hospital stay (median 15 days for each) or operative mortality (3.8% vs 4.4%). Mean follow-up averaged 22 months. No significant difference was found in Kaplan-Meier survival estimates. One-year survival was 94% in the left ventricular assist device group and 88% in the control group (difference not significant). Comparison of posttransplantation events showed no significant difference in actuarial rates of cytomegalovirus infection (20% vs 17%) or vascular rejection (15% vs 12%) at 1 year of follow-up. Similar percentages of patients were free from cellular rejection at 1 year of follow-up (12% vs 22%, p = 0.36). Conclusions: Left ventricular assist device support intensified the donor shortage by including recipients who otherwise would not have survived to transplantation. Bridging affected transplant demographics, favoring patients who are larger, have ischemic cardiomyopathy, have had multiple blood transfusions and complex cardiac operations, and are HLA sensitized. Successfully bridged patients wait longer for a transplant than do UNOS status I patients without such a bridge, but they have similar posttransplantation hospital stay, operative mortality, and survival to those of patients not requiring left ventricular assist device support.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine