Recovery of Serum Cholesterol Predicts Survival After Left Ventricular Assist Device Implantation

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Advanced systolic heart failure is associated with myocardial and systemic metabolic abnormalities, including low levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. Low cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein have been associated with greater mortality in heart failure. Implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) reverses some of the metabolic derangements of advanced heart failure.

Methods and Results—

A cohort was retrospectively assembled from 2 high-volume implantation centers, totaling 295 continuous-flow LVAD recipients with ≥2 cholesterol values available. The cohort was predominantly bridge-to-transplantation (67%), with median age of 59 years and 49% ischemic heart failure cause. Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels all significantly increased after LVAD implantation (median values from implantation to 3 months post implantation 125–150 mg/dL, 67–85 mg/dL, 32–42 mg/dL, and 97–126 mg/dL, respectively). On Cox proportional hazards modeling, patients achieving recovery of total cholesterol levels, defined as a median or greater change from pre implantation to 3 months post-LVAD implantation, had significantly better unadjusted survival (hazard ratio, 0.445; 95% confidence interval, 0.212–0.932) and adjusted survival (hazard ratio, 0.241; 95% confidence interval, 0.092–0.628) than those without cholesterol recovery after LVAD implantation. The continuous variable of total cholesterol at 3 months post implantation and the cholesterol increase from pre implantation to 3 months were also both significantly associated with survival during LVAD support.


Initiation of continuous-flow LVAD support was associated with significant recovery of all 4 lipid variables. Patients with a greater increase in total cholesterol by 3 months post implantation had superior survival during LVAD support.

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