Long-term use of left ventricular assist devices: a report on clinical outcomes

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Abstract

Background

The literature examining clinical outcomes and readmissions during extended (> 1 yr) left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support is scarce, particularly in the era of continuous-flow LVADs.

Methods

We completed a retrospective cohort study on consecutive LVAD patients from June 2006 to March 2015, focusing on those who received more than 1 year of total LVAD support time. Demographic characteristics, clinical outcomes and readmissions were analyzed using standard statistical methods. All readmissions were categorized as per the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support 2015 guidelines.

Results

Of the 103 patients who received LVADs during the study period, 37 received LVAD support for more than 1 year, with 18 receiving support for more than 2 years. Average support time was 786 ± 381 days, with total support time reaching 80 patient-years. During a median follow-up of 2 years, 27 patients died, with 1-year conditional survival of 74%. Median freedom from first readmission was 106 days (range 1–603 d), with an average length of stay of 6 days. Readmissions resulted in an average of 41 ± 76 days in hospital per patient. Reasons for readmission were major infection (24%), major bleeding (19%) and device malfunction/thrombus (13%). There were a total of 112 procedures completed during the readmissions, with 60% of procedures being done in 13% (n = 5) of patients.

Conclusion

Continuous-flow LVADs provide excellent long-term survival. The present study describes marked differences in reasons for readmissions between the general LVAD population and those supported for more than 1 year. Prolonged LVAD support resulted in decreased susceptibility to major bleeds and increased susceptibility to infection.

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