Ventricular blood stasis is a concern for continuous flow mechanical support devices and might contribute to the formation of thromboembolic events. The HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System (HVAD®) is equipped with the Lavare™ cycle that is a periodic speed modulation feature designed to alter flow patterns within the left ventricle and reduce areas of potential blood stasis. Here, we report in vitro and clinical findings on the effects of the Lavare cycle.METHODS
The effect of pump speed changes on the intraventricular flow field was examined with an in vitro particle image velocimetry model. The clinical impact of the Lavare cycle was evaluated through a retrospective review of the ReVOLVE study which includes 248 patients implanted with the HVAD following Conformité Européenne Mark in nine centres in Europe and Australia. Baseline characteristics, adverse event profiles and Kaplan–Meier survival estimates were stratified by patients using/not using the Lavare cycle.RESULTS
Particle image velocimetry showed increased ventricular washout with an active Lavare cycle as measured by the fluid velocities and angular dispersion parameters. With the Lavare cycle on, there was also a 22% decrease in the stagnation index compared with when the Lavare cycle was off. In the ReVOLVE registry, patients with the Lavare cycle turned on (n = 215) were supported for 497 patient-years, whereas patients who did not use the speed modulation (n = 33) were supported for 39.3 patient-years. The Lavare cycle did not significantly affect patient survival as both groups had approximately an 80% survival after 1 year. Patients using the Lavare cycle had significantly fewer rates of stroke [0.06 vs 0.20 events per patient-year (EPPY), P = 0.0008], sepsis (0.03 vs 0.15 EPPY, P = 0.0003) and right heart failure (0.03 vs 0.18 EPPY, P < 0.0001) with no difference in the transplant or recovery rates among the two cohorts.CONCLUSIONS
The Lavare cycle effectively generates ventricular washout and the adverse event profiles of ReVOLVE patients with the Lavare cycle on were better than those with the Lavare cycle off. Larger studies are warranted to verify the positive effect of the Lavare cycle and to optimize speed modulation settings, so additional clinically relevant improvements can be realized.