Severe LVAD-related infections requiring surgical treatment: Incidence, predictors, effect on survival, and impact of device selection

Randall Z. Olmsted, Andre Critsinelis, Chitaru Kurihara*, Masashi Kawabori, Tadahisa Sugiura, Andrew B. Civitello, Jeffrey A. Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are being used more frequently for treating refractory, advanced heart failure. However, infection remains a frequent complication. In this study, we analyzed the incidence of severe infections in LVAD recipients to determine its impact on survival. Methods: From May 2009 through March 2016, 437 patients with advanced heart failure underwent implantation of a continuous-flow LVAD (n = 314, HeartMate II LVAD [Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL]; n = 123 HeartWare HVAD [Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN]). We analyzed the rate of severe device infection requiring surgical intervention or involving sepsis and the impact of severe infection on outcomes in patients on long-term LVAD support. Results: Infection occurred in 244 patients (HeartMate II, n = 186; HVAD, n = 58); severe infections developed in 160 patients (HeartMate II, n = 119; HVAD, n = 41). HeartMate II recipients had 344 severe infection events (0.63 events per patient-year [EPPY]), whereas HeartWare recipients had 89 severe infection events (0.42 EPPY; P = 0.047). HeartMate II recipients had a higher incidence of pump infections (P < 0.001). Severe infections did not significantly affect survival (P = 0.42). Conclusions: Although HeartMate II patients had a significantly higher incidence of pump infections requiring surgical treatment, survival was not adversely affected. The difference in postoperative infection rates may be an important factor in device type selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019



  • circulatory support devices
  • heart failure
  • infection
  • left ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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