Sex-Specific Outcome Disparities in Patients Receiving Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) decrease mortality and improve quality of life in patients with advanced heart failure (HF). Their widespread utilization has led to concerns regarding increased adverse effects, especially in women. Nevertheless, sex-specific data remain limited. We searched Medline, Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library for publications reporting sex-specific outcomes after CF-LVADs from January 2008 through January 2017. Outcomes were compared under the random-effects model and heterogeneity examined via χ2 test and I2 statistics. A total of 10 studies including 4,493 CF-LVAD recipients were included in the analysis (23.5% women). The overall rate of stroke was significantly higher in women (odds ratio [OR] 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.32–2.84; p = 0.0007). This was true for ischemic strokes (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.21–3.42; p = 0.008) and hemorrhagic strokes (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.21–3.42; p = 0.008). Women were also more likely to develop right HF necessitating right ventricular assist device (RVAD) implantation (OR 2.12; 95% CI 1.08–4.15; p = 0.03). Other adverse events including renal failure, bleeding, and device-related infection were comparable for both genders. The overall mortality while on CF-LVAD was similar in both groups (OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.81–1.36; p = 0.71). Our analysis suggests that women are at greater risk of significant complications such as cerebrovascular events and right HF necessitating RVAD after CF-LVAD implantation. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying these sex-specific outcome disparities.

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