The TandemHeart® percutaneous ventricular assist device (pVAD), which provides temporary circulatory support of the left ventricle, can be used in high-risk and hemodynamically unstable patients. The easily inserted TandemHeart provides cardiac support superior to that from the use of intra-aortic balloon pumps. Herein, we discuss TandemHeart implantation via end-to-side femoral arterial grafting in a cardiac patient whose sepsis and multiorgan failure were complicated by coagulopathy and thromboembolism.
A 47-year-old woman, on intra-aortic balloon and intravenous inotropic support after an acute myocardial infarction and emergency coronary artery bypass grafting, was transferred to our institution via helicopter. She developed sepsis and multiorgan failure. Her condition was further complicated by coagulopathy and a left-lower-extremity thromboembolism. After 6 weeks of aggressive pharmacologic and intermittent intra-aortic balloon treatment, the patient developed cardiogenic shock and received a TandemHeart pVAD for short-term circulatory support. A GORE-TEX® access graft, sewn end-to-side to the femoral artery because of the patient's leg ischemia and very small vessels, served as a conduit for the TandemHeart's femoral arterial inflow cannula. Her difficult circulatory, anatomic, and coagulopathic status stabilized after 2 weeks of TandemHeart support, and she was bridged to the long-term MicroMed DeBakey VAD® Child in anticipation of heart transplantation.
The case of our patient shows that high-risk patients who have experienced cardiogenic shock with multiorgan failure and coagulopathy can benefit from the TandemHeart pVAD as a bridge to other therapeutic options, even when creative approaches to treatment and to TandemHeart insertion are required.