Bridge to transplantation with the DeBakey VAD axial pump: a single center report

J M Grinda, C H Latremouille, P Chevalier, N D'Attelis, F Boughenou, R Guillemain, A Deloche, J N Fabiani
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2002, 22 (6): 965-70

AIMS: To report our experience with a left ventricular assist device axial pump as a bridge to transplantation: the DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device (VAD).

METHODS: From February 1999 to February 2002, nine patients (among which eight males), with a mean age of 47 years, all in NYHA functional class IV, were proposed for a bridge to transplantation with the DeBakey VAD. Five patients had primary dilated cardiomyopathy, four had ischemic cardiomyopathy. All the patients had inotropic support prior to the intervention (dobutamine with a mean dose of 12 mcg/kg per min), six had an intra-aortic counterpulsation, four presented ventricular rhythm disorders. Interventions were performed through sternotomy alone (no need for an abdominal pocket) under extra-corporeal circulation on beating heart (except in one patient suffering from an apical thrombosis for which cardioplegic arrest was performed) as followed: implantation of the apical inflow cannula, tunneling of the percutaneous cable, implantation of the outflow graft under aortic side clamping, starting of the DeBakey VAD during CPB weaning-off.

RESULTS: Mean support duration was 81+/-62 days (16-224 days). Eight reoperations were required (three for bleeding or cardiac tamponade, one for haemoperitoneum, one for aortic bifurcation thrombectomy, one for right ventricular assist device implantation, two for iterative replacements of the DeBakey VAD). A significant hemolysis was observed in two patients. No device infection or dysfunction were observed. Secondary recovery of a pulsed flow was observed either clinically or by Echo-Doppler in six patients. Five patients were transplanted, four died prior to transplantation (three from multi-organ failure on post-operative day 35, 16 and 50, respectively, and the last patient was found disconnected at day 109).

CONCLUSIONS: The DeBakey VAD is at the origin of renewed interest for continuous flow assist devices. Still under evaluation, the advantages of miniaturization and facility of implantation of this new device seem to be promising.

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