High-risk cardiac surgery as an alternative to transplant or mechanical support in patients with end-stage heart failure

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Abstract

Objective

Although the results of cardiac surgery in patients with poor left ventricular function have been widely published, the outcomes in patients with end-stage heart failure who meet criteria for advanced therapies are not well investigated. As access to transplantation and ventricular assist device therapy remains limited, we explored the possibility of conventional surgery as an alternative option for highly selected patients with end-stage heart failure.

Methods

We identified patients with left ventricular ejection fraction <20% and VO2 max <14 mL/min/m2, who were initially referred for advanced therapies but were instead offered a conventional procedure from 2002 to 2012. We examined the short- and midterm outcomes and compared survival with that after our advanced therapies in the same era.

Results

A total of 133 patients were identified; 68 were deemed to be transplant-eligible, whereas 65 were transplant-ineligible. Seventy-nine percent were in New York Heart Association class III/IV. In-hospital mortality was 12%. Actuarial survival at 5 and 10 years was 72% ± 4% and 39% ± 8%, respectively. Nonischemic etiology was identified as a predictor of late mortality. In the propensity-adjusted model, our transplant-eligible patients had comparable long-term survival to our transplantation patients (HR 1.48 [95% confidence interval, 0.66-3.2], P = .34), whereas the survival in our transplant-ineligible subset was comparable to the survival after our left ventricular assist device therapy (HR 0.49 [95% confidence interval, 0.16-1.50], P = .21).

Conclusions

Despite high perioperative risk, the midterm survival after conventional surgery in patients eligible for advanced therapies seems to be acceptable and may be an alternative option for highly selected patients with end-stage heart failure.

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