Can Perioperative Right Ventricular Support Prevent Postoperative Right Heart Failure in Patients With Biventricular Dysfunction Undergoing Left Ventricular Assist Device Implantation?

Heinz Deschka, Alexander J Holthaus, Jürgen R Sindermann, Henryk Welp, Dominik Schlarb, Nadejda Monsefi, Sven Martens, Mirela Scherer
Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 2016, 30 (3): 619-26

OBJECTIVES: Depending on the pre-existing condition of the right ventricle (RV), left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation may have a detrimental effect on RV function, subsequently leading to right heart failure. This study details the authors' experience with perioperative mechanical RV support in patients with biventricular impairment but primarily scheduled for isolated LVAD implantation.

DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: Two center study, university hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: This study included LVAD recipients with preoperative biventricular impairment who received an additional right ventricular assist device (RVAD) after a failed weaning attempt from cardiopulmonary bypass due to acute RV failure.

INTERVENTIONS: Outcomes of 25 patients who underwent LVAD and unplanned temporary RVAD implantation were analyzed.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: All patients experienced significant preoperative RV impairment (tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion: 10.2±26.3 mm; right atrium pressure: 17.9±10.4 mmHg) and pulmonary hypertension (pulmonary artery pressure: 54.8±25.7 mmHg). In 15 patients, additional tricuspid valve annuloplasty was performed. Mean duration of temporary RVAD support was 11.1±7.2 days. In 23 patients (92%), the RVAD was removed successfully. None of the patients developed RV failure after RVAD removal. Hospital survival and the 1-year survival rate of the study group were 68% and 56%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of perioperative RVAD support in LVAD recipients with biventricular dysfunction are encouraging. Temporary RVAD support allows an already compromised RV to become attuned to the hemodynamic conditions after LVAD implantation. This strategy provides patients with preoperative impaired RV function a high likelihood to permanently undergo LVAD support only.

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