The TandemHeart as a bridge to a long-term axial-flow left ventricular assist device (bridge to bridge)

Tex Heart Inst J. 2008;35(2):125-9.


End-stage heart-failure patients in acute refractory cardiogenic shock with multi-organ dysfunction require aggressive medical therapy that includes inotropic support. Historically, the intra-aortic balloon pump was the last option for patients who were dying of acute cardiogenic shock. Short-term extracorporeal pulsatile or nonpulsatile cardiac assist devices or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation offered further treatment options; however, these therapies required invasive surgical procedures. Patients in this high-risk group had increased mortality rates from major procedures that required cardiopulmonary bypass. We used the TandemHeart, a percutaneously implanted device for short-term cardiac assistance, to lower the risk of death and improve hemodynamic performance and end-organ perfusion before implanting long-term assist devices in selected patients with signs of profound cardiogenic shock. Nine end-stage heart-failure patients (mean age, 37.7 yr) in acute refractory hemodynamic decompensation received a percutaneously implanted TandemHeart pump as a bridge to an implantable axial-flow pump. To determine the relative risk for these patients, prognostic scores were calculated before and after insertion of the TandemHeart. Percutaneous support times ranged from 1 to 22 days (mean, 5.9 d). The mean cardiac index before support, 1.02 L/(min.m2) (range, 0.0-1.8 L/[min.m2]) (0.0 L/[min.m2] implies active cardiopulmonary resuscitation), improved to 2.97 L/(min.m2) (range, 2.2-4.0 L/[min.m2]) during support. Three patients underwent successful cardiac transplantation; 5 are currently supported by axial-flow pumps; and 1 died of complications unrelated to the axial-flow pump, after 587 days. End-organ function and overall condition improved uniformly in our patients, thus decreasing the preoperative risk factors for implantation of the long-term device.

Keywords: Cardiac output, low/mortality/therapy; cardio-myopathies; heart failure/mortality/therapy; heart-assist devices/design/standards/statistics & numerical data; prostheses and implants; risk management; severity of illness index; shock, cardiogenic/complications/mortality/therapy; survival analysis; treatment outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / etiology
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / mortality
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy*
  • Stroke Volume
  • Treatment Outcome