Practical valvular issues in patients requiring ventricular assist devices

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Purpose of review

As ventricular assist device (VAD) therapy in patients with advanced heart failure continues to grow, experience with concomitant valvular diseases present either before or after VAD implantation continues to accrue. In this review, we discuss recent data and current practice as it pertains to the subject of concomitant valvular disease in patients requiring VADs.

Recent findings

Persistent aortic valve closure has been identified as a potential contributor to aortic valve ‘disuse atrophy’ resulting in valve degeneration. Dilation of the aortic root may be predictive of future development of aortic insufficiency. Novel echocardiographic parameters to identify the severity of aortic insufficiency following VAD implantation may be useful for risk stratification. Concomitant repair of significant mitral regurgitation may confer benefit to pulmonary vascular resistance and right ventricular function; however, this remains controversial. Concomitant repair of significant tricuspid regurgitation has not demonstrated early postoperative benefit nor survival benefit. Atrial fibrillation has emerged as a risk factor that may predict accelerated progression of postoperative tricuspid regurgitation.


Management of aortic insufficiency, mitral regurgitation or tricuspid regurgitation in patients requiring VADs continues to be the source of controversy. As experience accrues with varying strategies to prevent or manage these valvular lesions, our understanding of the impact of these strategies continues to evolve.

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