Alternative right ventricular assist device implantation technique for patients with perioperative right ventricular failure

Diyar Saeed, Bujar Maxhera, Hiroyuki Kamiya, Artur Lichtenberg, Alexander Albert
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2015, 149 (3): 927-32

OBJECTIVES: Temporary right ventricular assist devices (RVADs) may be required to support patients with perioperative refractory right ventricular failure (RVF). We report on our experience using a different technique of RVAD implantation that does not necessitate resternotomy at the time of RVAD removal.

METHODS: Patients with perioperative RVF who underwent temporary RVAD implantation between January 2010 and February 2014 were reviewed. A dacron graft was attached to the pulmonary artery and passed through a subxiphoid exit, where the RVAD outflow cannula was inserted. The inflow cannula was percutaneously cannulated in the femoral vein, and the sternum was primarily closed. On the day of RVAD explantation, the outflow graft of the RVAD was pulled and ligated, and the insertion site was secondarily closed. The RVAD inflow cannula was removed, and direct pressure was applied.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (age 58 ± 14 years) were supported. Seventeen patients (81%) had RVF after left ventricular assist device implantation, and 4 patients developed postcardiotomy RVF. The median duration of RVAD support was 9 days (range: 2-88 days). Eleven patients (52%) were successfully weaned from the RVAD. Two patients were bridged to transplantation. Eight patients died on left ventricular assist device and/or RVAD support. The survival rates to discharge or heart transplantation, and to 1-year, were 62% and 52%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: No technical issues were encountered in this large series of RVAD implantations using the described technique for various forms of postoperative RVF. Extended support duration and reduction of resternotomy risks may be the main advantages of this technique compared with conventional RVAD implantation methods.

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