Impact of Ventricular Assist Device Complications on Posttransplant Survival: An Analysis of the United Network of Organ Sharing Database

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Although current left ventricular assist device (LVAD) technology has proven more durable than first-generation devices, all mechanical devices are prone to complications that can elevate patient acuity before transplantation. LVAD patients with complications intuitively carry a higher risk profile than other status 1A LVAD patients who are generally stable and use their 30 days of clinically stable status 1A time. We sought to determine if the presence or absence of complications in status 1A LVAD patients at the time of transplant influenced survival after transplant.


The United Network of Organ Sharing database was retrospectively analyzed for 15,253 patients who were listed status 1A from 1998 to 2008. Survival after transplant survival was compared between patients who were and were not listed for LVAD-related complications. Standard statistical analysis was applied.


No survival difference was identified at 1 and 10 years after transplant in patients who had device complications compared with those without complications. Of the five complication entries (thromboembolism, infection, malfunction, malignant arrhythmia, and other), only device infection increased mortality risk compared with noncomplicated patients (39% at 1 year, 30% at 10 years, p < 0.01).


Long-term outcomes are generally not affected by the status 1A listing criteria for patients bridged to transplant with LVADs. However, the subset of patients with device infection had worse 1-year and 10-year posttransplant survival. Bridge to transplant patients, despite serious device-related complications, still have excellent transplant outcomes.

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