Case Series: Clinical Management of Persistent Mechanical Assist Device Driveline Drainage Using Vacuum-Assisted Closure Therapy

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Percutaneous driveline lead and pocket sites are potential sources of drainage that can lead to infection. Some patients experience a slower closure of tissue growth into the driveline. The management of chronically open and or draining driveline wounds is a challenge. The KCI vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) device is a noninvasive negative-pressure therapy that promotes the healing of wounds not responding to conventional treatment. Vacuum-assisted closure therapy has proven safe, effective, and cost efficient by decreasing the number of dressing changes and length of stay. The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) team initiated VAC therapy in 3 patients. The tunneling method allowed the wound to heal from the inside out. The dressing was changed every 3 days, and the size and depth of the wound was monitored. Patients may be sent home using a portable VAC device until wound closure is obtained, which decreases the hospital length of stay. Our experience with three patients suggests the VAC device can be used for draining and tunneling LVAD driveline-site wounds and may prevent fistula formation. It is especially useful for patients with ascites that may be draining along the driveline tract. The sites showed increased granulation, decreased drainage, and a reduced bacterial burden after having the device in place.

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