Objectives. We studied the effects of left ventricular (LV) unloading by an implantable ventricular assist device on LV diastolic filling. Background. Although many investigators have reported reliable systemic and peripheral circulatory support with implantable LV assist devices, little is known about their effect on cardiac performance. Methods. Peak velocities of early diastolic filling, late diastolic filling, late to early filling ratio, deceleration time of early filling, diastolic filling period and atrial filling fraction were measured by intraoperative transesophageal Doppler echocardiography before and after insertion of an LV assist device in eight patients. A numerical model was developed to simulate this situation. Results. Before device insertion, all patients showed either a restrictive or a monophasic transmitral flow pattern. After device insertion, transmitral flow showed rapid beat to beat variation in each patient, from abnormal relaxation to restrictive patterns. However, when the average values obtained from 10 consecutive beats were considered, overall filling was significantly normalized from baseline, with early filling velocity falling from 87 ± 31 to 64 ± 26 cm/s (p < 0.01) and late filling velocity rising from 8 ± 11 to 32 ± 23 ends (p < 0.05), resulting in an increase in the late to early filling ratio from 0.13 ± 0.18 to 0.59 ± 0.38 (p < 0.01) and a rise in the atrial filling fraction from 8 ± 10% to 26 ± 17% (p < 0.01). The deceleration time (from 112 ± 40 to 160 ± 44 ms, p < 0.05) and the filling period corrected by the RR interval (from 39 ± 8% to 54 ± 10%, p < 0.005) were also significantly prolonged. In the computer model, asynchronous LV assistance produced significant beat to beat variation in filling indexes, but overall a normalization of deceleration time as well as other variables. Conclusions. With LV assistance, transmittal flow showed rapidly varying patterns beat by beat in each patient, but overall diastolic filling tended to normalize with an increase of atrial contribution to the filling. Because of the variable nature of the transmittal flow pattern with the assist device, the timing of the device cycle must be considered when inferring diastolic function from transmittal flow pattern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine