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Pectoral muscle mass is not a robust prognostic factor for survival after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation.

BACKGROUND: Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are an established treatment for end-stage left ventricular heart failure. Parameters are needed to identify the most appropriate patients for LVADs. This study aimed to evaluate pectoral muscle mass and density as prognostic parameters.

METHODS: This single-center study included all patients with LVAD implantation between January 2010 and October 2017 and a preoperative chest CT scan. Pectoral muscle mass was assessed using the Pectoralis Muscle Index (PMI, surface area indexed to height, cm2 /m2 ) and pectoral muscle density by Hounsfield Units (HU). Overall mortality was analyzed with Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and 1-year and 3-year mortality with receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and Cox regression models.

RESULTS: 57 patients (89.5% male, mean age 57.8 years) were included. 64.9% of patients had end-stage left ventricular failure due to ischemic heart disease and 35.1% due to dilated cardiomyopathy. 49.2% of patients had preoperative INTERMACS profile of 1 or 2 and 33.3% received mechanical circulatory support prior to LVAD implantation. Total mean PMI was 4.7 cm2 /m2 (± 1.6), overall HU of the major pectoral muscle was 39.0 (± 14.9) and of the minor pectoral muscle 37.1 (± 16.6). Mean follow-up was 2.8 years (± 0.2). Mortality rates were 37.5% at 1 year and 48.0% at 3 years. Neither PMI nor HU were significantly associated with overall mortality at 1-year or 3-year.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study do not confirm the association between higher pectoral muscle mass and better survival after LVAD implantation previously described in the literature.

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