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Preoperative liver dysfunction is a well-known risk factor for adverse events after major surgery. However, there is only little data regarding the precise role of the Model of End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score and the De Ritis ratio (DRR, alanine transaminase/aspartate aminotransferase) as a predictor for outcome after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation.A retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing LVAD implantation at our institution between January 2012 and August 2014 was performed. The primary outcome was survival at 180 days after surgery.During the observation period, 63 patients underwent LVAD implantation (mean age 59.9 ± 8.3 years, 50% male). Mean preoperative ejection fraction was 16.3 ± 7.7, 13 patients required preoperative renal replacement therapy and 9 patients were on extracorporeal life support. Mean Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support level was 2.8 ± 1.3, mean preoperative MELD was 12.7 ± 7.2, mean preoperative DRR was 2.01 ± 4.4. Aspartate aminotransferase (102 ± 220.8 vs 57.8 ± 123.4 U/l, P = 0.041), MELD score (16.1 ± 8.8 vs 11.4 ± 6.1, P = 0.017) and DRR (4.2 ± 7.8 vs 1.1 ± 1.1, P = 0.001) were significantly higher in non-survivors than in survivors after 180 days. Using logistic regression analyses, a DRR >1.37 was an independent predictor for 30-day mortality [odds ratio (OR) 4.5] and 180-day mortality (OR 4.1). In addition, the DRR was associated with postoperative acute kidney injury with need for renal replacement therapy (OR 4.2) and prolonged postoperative ventilation time >72 h (OR 3.8). Using receiver operator characteristics analyses, DRR showed a sensitivity of 0.80 and a specificity of 0.81 (area under the curve 0.834, cut-off 1.37) for 180-day mortality.The DRR is predictive of early and mid-term mortality as well as relevant morbidities in patients undergoing LVAD implantation. Therefore, the DRR should be considered within the preoperative risk stratification and patient selection for LVAD implantation.