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LVAD decommissioning for myocardial recovery: Long-term ventricular remodeling and adverse events

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lu WangORCiD, Dr Stephan Schueler, Professor Djordje JakovljevicORCiD, Dr Guy MacGowanORCiD


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© 2021 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Background: Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) mechanically unload the heart and coupled with neurohormonal therapy can promote reverse cardiac remodeling and myocardial recovery. Minimally invasive LVAD decommissioning with the device left in place has been reported to be safe over short-term follow-up. Whether device retention reduces long-term safety, or sustainability of recovery is unknown. Methods: This is a dual-center retrospective analysis of patients who had achieved responder status (left ventricular ejection fraction, LVEF ≥40% and left ventricular internal diastolic diameter, LVIDd ≤6.0 cm) and underwent elective LVAD decommissioning for myocardial recovery from May 2010 to January 2020. All patients had outflow graft closure and driveline resection with the LVAD left in place. Emergent LVAD decommissioning for an infection or device thrombosis was excluded. Patients were followed with serial echocardiography for up to 3-years. The primary clinical outcome was survival free of heart failure hospitalization, LVAD reimplantation, or transplant. Results: During the study period 515 patients received an LVAD and 29 (5.6%) achieved myocardial recovery, 12 patients underwent total device explantation or urgent device decommissioning, 17 patients underwent elective LVAD decommissioning, and were included in the analysis. Median age of patients at LVAD implantation was 42 years (interquartile range, IQR: 25-54 years), all had a nonischemic cardiomyopathy, and 5 (29%) were female. At LVAD implantation, median LVEF was 10% (IQR: 5%-15%), and LVIDd 6.6 cm (IQR: 5.8-7.1 cm). There were 11 hydrodynamically levitated centrifugal-flow (65%), and 6 axial-flow LVADs (35%). The median duration of LVAD support before decommissioning was 28.7 months (range 13.5-36.2 months). As compared to the turndown study parameters, 1-month post-decommissioning, median LVEF decreased from 55% to 48% (p = 0.03), and LVIDd increased from 4.8 cm to 5.2 cm (p = 0.10). There was gradual remodeling until 6 months, after which there was no statistical difference on follow-up through 3-years (LVEF 42%, LVIDd 5.6 cm). Recurrent infections affected 41% of patients leading to 3 deaths and 1 complete device explant. Recurrent HF occurred in 1 patient who required a transplant. Probability of survival free of HF, LVAD, or transplant was 94% at 1-year, and 78% at 3-years. Conclusions: LVAD decommissioning for myocardial recovery was associated with excellent long-term survival free from recurrent heart failure and preservation of ventricular size and function up to 3-years. Reducing the risk of recurrent infections, remains an important therapeutic goal for this management strategy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gerhard EF, Wang L, Singh R, Schueler S, Genovese LD, Woods A, Tang D, Smith NR, Psotka MA, Tovey S, Desai SS, Jakovljevic DG, MacGowan GA, Shah P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation

Year: 2021

Volume: 40

Issue: 12

Pages: 1560-1570

Print publication date: 01/12/2021

Online publication date: 11/08/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1053-2498

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3117

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.healun.2021.08.001


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