Thoratec implantable ventricular assist device: the Papworth experience

Marius Berman, Jayan Parameshwar, David P Jenkins, Kumud Dhital, Clive Lewis, Kirsty Dempster, Paul Lincoln, Catherine Sudarshan, Stephen R Large, John Dunning, Steven S L Tsui
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2010, 139 (2): 466-73

OBJECTIVE: The Thoratec (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, Calif) implantable ventricular assist device (IVAD) can be used for univentricular or biventricular support. The objective of this study is to review the 5-year experience of bridging patients to heart transplantation with this device in a single center. Surgical aspects, including hybrid pump pocket, double tunneling of driveline, and optimal cannulae placement, are discussed.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of 24 patients treated between January 2002 and December 2007. Nineteen patients (79.1%) received a single implantable ventricular assist device as left ventricular assist devices, and 5 patients (21.9%) received 2 implantable ventricular assist devices as biventricular assist devices. The devices were implanted in pre-peritoneal/posterior rectus hybrid pump pockets. The driveline was passed through a 2-stage double-tunnel to exit onto the lateral chest wall. Patients were anticoagulated with Warfarin aiming for an international normalized ratio of 2.0 to 3.0.

RESULTS: Twenty male and 4 female patients with a mean age of 39.8 years (17-57 years) and a body surface area of 1.87 m(2) (1.63-2.2 m(2)) were supported for a total of 2308 patient-days. Mean duration of support was 96 days (10-301 days). The cause of heart failure was dilated cardiomyopathy in 18 patients and ischemic cardiomyopathy in 6 patients. Preoperatively, 23 patients were receiving inotropes, 12 patients required intra-aortic balloon pump support, 5 patients were intubated and mechanically ventilated, and 3 patients required continuous venovenous hemofiltration for renal support. Eleven patients (45.8%) were discharged with ventricular assist device support (1015 home patient-days). Complications observed were a) neurologic: stroke in 3 patients, transient ischemic attacks in 4 patients; and b) infection: driveline infection in 3 patients and pump pocket infection in 1 patient. There was no mechanical device failure. Support to transplantation was achieved in 17 patients (70.8%): 3 of 5 biventricular assist devices (60%) and 14 of 19 left ventricular assist devices (73.7%).

CONCLUSION: The Thoratec IVAD is a versatile and reliable ventricular assist device. It can provide univentricular or biventricular support for bridging patients to heart transplantation with acceptable complication rates. The portable Thoratec TLC-II console facilitated discharge while patients waited for a suitable donor heart.

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