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Thromboembolic complications following implantation of durable left-ventricular assist devices.

INTRODUCTION: As the utilization of left-ventricular assist devices (LVADs) continues to rise and patients experience extended survival duration with these devices, the overall incidence of adverse events and complications has shown a notable increase. Among the major adverse events, thromboembolic complications are particularly significant. The aim of this study is to present our experience and assess the risk of thromboembolic complications after implantation of durable continuous-flow left-ventricular assist devices (CF-LVAD) in patients with end-stage heart failure.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: From 2007 to 2022, 169 left ventricular continuous-flow durable mechanical assist devices were implanted at our institute. Three types of devices were employed: HeartMate II (n = 54, 32%), HeartMate 3 (n = 70, 41.4%), and Heart Ware (n = 45, 26.6%). The data were extracted from the EUROMACS register.

RESULTS: Thromboembolic complication, pump thrombosis was observed in 11/169 patients (6.5%), with 2 patients experiencing stroke after embolism to the central nervous system. Among these cases, 10 patients (90.9%) were equipped with the Heart Ware device while 1 patient (9.1%) had the Heart Mate II device implanted. Nine patients received the durable device as a bridge to transplant therapy and two as a bridge to candidacy. The overall mean age of the patients was 47.6±10.2 years, with 2 women and 10 men. The pump thrombosis was managed through thrombolytic therapy, high-intensity heparin anticoagulation protocol, pump exchange, pump explantation, and early heart transplant. The combined hospital and long-term mortality rate was 4/11 patients (36.4%).

CONCLUSION: Based on our experience, thromboembolic complications presenting primarily as pump thromboses, were a relatively common phenomenon experienced in association with the second-generation continuous-flow devices, but rarely seen with the third-generation devices. Thrombolysis followed by early heart transplantation proved to be a safe treatment option (Tab. 1, Ref. 14). Text in PDF Keywords: durable mechanical assist device, durable left ventricular assist devices, outcomes, thromboembolic complications.

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