Special Treatment and Wound Care of the Driveline Exit Site after Left Ventricular Assist Device Implantation

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Despite good results following implantation of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), infections of the driveline and device pocket remain a major problem for patients on long-term support. We present the data from heart failure patients treated with a Thoratec HeartMate-II LVAD (Thoratec Corporation, Pleasanton, California, United States).


From January 2008 to April 2011, in our institution, 40 heart failure patients (NYHA IV) were supported with a HeartMate-II LVAD. The driveline maintenance of 17 patients consisted of the use of Octenidine for the wound dressing, whereas merbromin was additionally used for local irrigation in 31 patients. The data concerning driveline infections were analyzed retrospectively.


In our study, 95% of the entire cohort was free from infections of the system. Two patients in the conventional group (11.8%) developed a driveline infection at a mean of 130.5 days during 3,416 patient-days (0.21 infection/patient-years). In the Merbromid group (Co. New FaDem SRL Farmaceutici & Chimici, Giugliano, Campania, Italy), all patients were free from any driveline infections during the observation period. In a log-rank comparison, the difference reached statistical significance (p = 0.043).


During our observation period, fewer infections were noted with merbromin treatment. A multicenter setting in a larger cohort should be performed to confirm these findings, although a (double-) blinded setting might be difficult to achieve.

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