Use of the Nippon-Zeon pneumatic ventricular assist device as a bridge to cardiac transplantation

P H Deleuze, P Le Besnerais, J P Mazzucotellu, Y Abe, M Miyama, A Mourtada, C Benvenuti, D Y Loisance
ASAIO Journal: a Peer-reviewed Journal of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs 1994, 40 (3): M325-8
The Nippon-Zeon (NZ) ventricular assist device is a sac type, air driven, heterotopic, external pump. Its performance has been evaluated in Japan as a bridge to myocardial recovery. Few data are available on the device as a bridge to heart transplantation. Since 1991, 10 patients (9 men) were bridged to heart transplantation with NZ, all in biventricular support. The mean age was 39 +/- 13 years (range, 21-60 years), mean body weight was 75 +/- 13 kg (range, 51-95 kg). Five patients had a dilated cardiopathy, and five were ischemic (three acute myocardial infarctions). Despite maximal inotropic support, including enoximone in seven, epinephrine in three, and intraaortic balloon pumping in one, eight patients were anuric, three were in acute hepatic failure, and three were intubated. Preoperative hemodynamic and biologic values were: cardiac index, 1.57 +/- 0.4 l/min/m2; pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, 34 +/- 5 mmHg; creatinine, 200 +/- 80 mumol/l; blood urea nitrogen, 17.5 +/- 8 mmol/l; total bilirubin 36 +/- 6 mumol/l; aspartate aminotransferase, 1,000 +/- 2,000 IU/l. In all patients, a biventricular assist device was implanted without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. Improvement occurred immediately in all but one. Mean left ventricular flow was 4.5 +/- 0.8 l/min. Anticoagulation was maintained with intravenous heparin. Recently for bleeding was required in one case (10%), and two patients had positive blood cultures that were successfully treated. There was no mechanical failure. Hemolysis was not significant (lactate dehydrogenase, 378 +/- 50 IU/l; plasma-free hemoglobin below 10 mg/dl). Each device was free of thrombi and deposits at time of explantation. One patient died while on assist. Nine patients (90%) were transplanted after 11 +/- 8 days (range, 1-32 days). Three died early after transplantation, one of graft failure, two of sepsis. Six patients (66%) could be discharged. The follow-up ranges from 7 to 28 months. NZ is a simple, reliable, pneumatic device driven by a light, silent console; it can be rapidly implanted without cardiopulmonary bypass in patients in desperate condition who are awaiting cardiac transplantation. The difficulty of patient rehabilitation while using this device should limit the duration of support to weeks to allow the patient to be in optimal condition for heart transplantation.

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