Delayed Sternal Closure After Continuous Flow Left Ventricle Assist Device Implantation: Analysis of Risk Factors and Impact on Outcomes and Costs

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Patient and institutional factors predictive of delayed sternal closure (DSC) practice and its impact on clinical and cost outcomes when compared with primary sternal closure (PSC) following continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) implantation were examined. Statewide Society of Thoracic Surgeons and hospital cost data on CF-LVADs implanted were analyzed. Between January 2007 and December 2013, 558 CF-LVADs were implanted (PSC = 464, 83.2%; DSC = 94, 16.8%). Among the six institutions implanting CF-LVADs, DSC practice ranged from 3.1% to 37.8%. Compared with PSC, the DSC group had higher body mass index (BMI), renal failure, anemia, IIb/IIIa inhibitor use, emergency surgery, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support. Delayed sternal closure patients had significantly longer bypass time (139 ± 63 min vs. 107.6 ± 42 min) and higher use of intraoperative blood products (82% vs. 69%) and right ventricular assist device (RVAD) support (4.3% vs. 0.2%). Postoperative morbidities and mortality (23.4% vs. 6.5%; p ≤ 0.0001) were higher in the DSC group compared with PSC. Mean hospital costs for DSC were higher than PSC ($249,144 ± 123,273 vs. $155,915 ± 95,032; p ≤ 0.0001). Multivariate predictors of DSC include institution with higher DSC practice, preoperative ECMO support, use of IIb/IIIa inhibitors, tricuspid valve surgery, and intraoperative red blood cell transfusion. Delayed sternal closure was an independent risk factor for postoperative mortality, odds ratio 3.0 (1.2–7.2).

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