Do Patients Supported With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Device (CF-LVADS) Have a Sufficient Risk of Death to Justify a Priority Allocation? A Propensity-score Matched Analysis of Patients Listed In UNOS Status 2

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Outcomes of Continuous Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices (CF-LVADs) as bridge to transplant have significantly improved. The question has arisen whether patients on CF-LVADs have an increased risk of death on the waiting list as to justify a priority allocation (status 1). The aim of this study was to compare the survival following implantation of CF-LVADs to the survival on the waiting list for patients initially listed in United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) status 2.


All patients >18 years listed for Heart Transplantation (HT) in the United States between 2011 and 2013 in UNOS status 2 with no mechanical circulatory support at time of listing were analyzed. Patients were divided into two groups depending on whether they received a new CF-LVAD while listed (CF-LVAD group) or not (NO-LVAD) and were further matched on their Propensity Score (PS) in a 1:2 ratio.


Two hundreds and eighty-seven CF-LVAD patients were matched to 574 NO-LVAD patients. Survival after CF-LVAD was significantly lower at 24-month compared to waiting list (75.4+4.4 versus 91.2+8.9%, p<0.0001). Further, survival was not significantly different between the two groups at 24-month after transplantation (81.3+5.9% versus 86.7+3.3%, p=0.3).


Survival of patients listed in UNOS status 2 who receive a CF-LVAD while listed is significantly lower compared to patients who do not receive mechanical support on the waiting list. The current priority in the allocation system given to patients on CF-LVAD seems justified. Further post-transplant survival is not negatively influenced by previous CF-LVAD implantation.

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