Left Ventricular Assist Device Infections: A Systematic Review

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Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are becoming a more frequent life-support intervention. Gaining an understanding of risk factors for infection and management strategies is important for treating these patients. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies describing infections in continuous-flow LVADs. We evaluated incidence, risk factors, associated microorganisms, and outcomes by type of device and patient characteristics. Our search identified 90 distinct studies that reported LVAD infections and outcomes. Younger age and higher body mass index were associated with higher rates of LVAD infections. Driveline infections were the most common infection reported and the easiest to treat with fewest long-term consequences. Bloodstream infections were not reported as often, but they were associated with stroke and mortality. Treatment strategies varied and did not show a consistent best approach. LVAD infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in LVAD patients. Most research comes from secondary analyses of other LVAD studies. The lack of infection-oriented research leaves several areas understudied. In particular, bloodstream infections in this population merit further research. Providers need more research studies to make evidence-based decisions about the prevention and treatment of LVAD infections.

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