Trends in the Management of Patients With Left Ventricular Assist Devices Presenting for Noncardiac Surgery: A 10-Year Institutional Experience

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In our institution, the vast majority of patients presenting for noncardiac surgery (NCS) while supported by a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) are now cared for by noncardiac-trained anesthesiologists as the result of a decade of educational intervention to effect this transition. This represents a significant departure from the published experiences of other institutions. With institutional review board approval, we queried the database of our anesthesia record keeping system (CompuRecord) to determine various aspects of the perioperative management of these patients from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2013, during which time 271 NCS procedures were performed on adult patients supported by LVADs. Over the entire study period (2003-2013), anesthetic care was provided by a cardiac anesthesiologist 47% of the time and by a noncardiac anesthesiologist 53% of the time. However, by the time period 2012-2013, 88% of the NCS procedures were staffed by a noncardiac anesthesiologist. Despite the prevalence of continuous flow devices in this series, the use of invasive blood pressure monitoring decreased dramatically by the later years of the study. Vasoactive and inotropic medications were rarely required intraoperatively. No intraoperative cardiac arrests, thromboembolic complications, or device malfunctions occurred. Our conclusion is that NCS procedures on LVAD-supported patients can be safely managed by educated noncardiac anesthesiologists.

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