Myocardial recovery using ventricular assist devices: prevalence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes.
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BACKGROUND: Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are important bridges to cardiac transplantation. VAD support may also function as a bridge to ventricular recovery (BTR); however, clinical predictors of recovery and long-term outcomes remain uncertain. We examined the prevalence, characteristics, and outcomes of BTR subjects in a large single center series. METHODS AND RESULTS: We implanted VADs in 154 adults at the University of Pittsburgh from 1996 through 2003. Of these implants, 10 were BTR. This included 2/80 (2.5%) ischemic patients (supported 42 and 61 days, respectively). Both subjects had surgical revascularization, required perioperative left VAD support, and were alive and transplant-free at follow up (232 and 1319 days, respectively). A larger percentage of nonischemic patients underwent BTR (8/74, 11%; age 30+/-14; 88% female; left ventricular ejection fraction 18+/-6%; supported 112+/-76 days). Three had myocarditis, 4 had post-partum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), and 1 had idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Five received biventricular support. After explantation, ventricular function declined in 2 PPCM patients who then required transplantation. Ventricular recovery in the 6 nonischemic patients surviving transplant-free was maintained (left ventricular ejection fraction 54+/-5%; follow-up 1.5+/-0.9 years). Overall, 8 of 10 BTR patients are alive and free of transplant (follow-up 1.6+/-1.1 years). CONCLUSIONS: In a large single center series, BTR was evident in 11% of nonischemic patients, and the need for biventricular support did not preclude recovery. For most BTR subjects presenting with acute inflammatory cardiomyopathy, ventricular recovery was maintained long-term. VAD support as BTR should be considered in the care of acute myocarditis and PPCM.
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