Clinical performance with the Levitronix Centrimag short-term ventricular assist device

F De Robertis, E J Birks, P Rogers, G Dreyfus, J R Pepper, A Khaghani
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation 2006, 25 (2): 181-6

BACKGROUND: The Levitronix ventricular assist device (VAD) is a centrifugal pump designed for extracorporeal support and that operates without mechanical bearings or seals. The rotor is magnetically levitated so that rotation is achieved without friction or wear, which seems to minimize blood trauma and mechanical failure. The aim of this study is to report our early results with the Levitronix Centrimag device.

METHODS: Between June 2003 and April 2005, 18 patients (pts) were supported using the Levitronix at our institution. Fourteen were male. Mean age was 40.3 +/- 18.3 (range 8 to 64) years. Indications for support at implantation were: post-cardiotomy cardiogenic shock in 12 cases (Group A), and bridge to decision regarding long-term ventricular support in 6 cases (Group B).

RESULTS: Mean support time was 14.2 +/- 15.2 days for all patients (range 1 to 64 days). Operative (30-day) mortality was 50% (9 pts). Six pts were in Group A and 3 pts were in Group B. Overall, 6 pts (33%) were discharged home and are presently alive and well (mean follow-up 13 months, range 5 to 17 months). Bleeding requiring re-operation occurred in 8 cases (44%), cerebral thromboembolism in 1 and pulmonary embolism in 1. There were no device failures.

CONCLUSIONS: The Levitronix functioned well and proved to be useful in patients with extremely poor prognosis previously considered non-suitable for a long-term assist device. The device was technically easy to implant and manage. There was no device dysfunction and complications were acceptable or consistent with other devices. Survival to explant or a definitive procedure (VAD or transplantation) was encouraging.

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