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Preoperative patient optimization using extracorporeal life support improves outcomes of INTERMACS Level I patients receiving a permanent ventricular assist device

Julia Riebandt, Thomas Haberl, Stephane Mahr, Guenther Laufer, Angela Rajek, Barbara Steinlechner, Heinrich Schima, Daniel Zimpfer
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2014, 46 (3): 486-92; discussion 492
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OBJECTIVES: Interagency Registry for Mechanical Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) Level I patients have the highest early mortality after ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation. This is determined by the exposure of patients in shock with acutely damaged end-organs and high catecholamine support to a significant surgical trauma. We report our experience with a bridge-to-bridge concept consisting of initial veno-arterial extracorporeal life support (ECLS) and deferral of VAD implantation to recovery of end-organ function in INTERMACS Level I patients.

METHODS: We reviewed the concept of initial ECLS implantation and deferral of VAD implantation to end-organ recovery in 22 consecutive patients (mean age 54 ± 14 years; 72.2% males; 50% ischemic cardiomyopathy; 100% INTERMACS Level I; 18.2% Heartmate II, 68.2% Heartware HVAD, 4.5% Heartware BiVAD, 9.1% DeBakey LVAD) receiving a VAD for refractory cardiogenic shock between June 2004 and February 2013. Study endpoints were end-organ recovery during ECLS and survival.

RESULTS: ECLS significantly improved renal (creatinine 1.86 ± 0.91 vs 1.32 ± 0.52 mg/dl, P = 0.02), hepatic (aspartate aminotransferase 1426 ± 2176 vs 277 ± 259 U/l, P = 0.04; alanine aminotransferase 982 ± 1466 vs 357 ± 447 U/l, P = 0.04) and pulmonary functions (fraction of inspired oxygen 52 ± 18 vs 26 ± 23%, P < 0.01; positive end-expiratory pressure 7 ± 3 vs 5 ± 4 mbar, P = 0.02) over a period of 8 ± 7 days. Catecholamines could be reduced during ECLS (levosimendan 0.056 ± 0.085 vs 0.010 ± 0.032 μg/kg/min, P = 0.06; dobutamine 4.362 ± 5.268 vs 0.056 ± 0.097 μg/kg/min, P = 0.06; noradrenaline 0.408 ± 0.355 vs 0.056 ± 0.097 μg/kg/min, P < 0.01). Thirty-day and in-hospital mortality after VAD implantation were 4.5 and 9.1%, respectively, and 1-year survival was 86.4%.

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative patient optimization using ECLS improves outcomes of INTERMACS Level I patients receiving a permanent VAD.

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