Obesity and left ventricular assist device driveline exit site infection

ASAIO J. 2010 Jan-Feb;56(1):57-60. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e3181c879b1.


Driveline exit site (DLES) infection is a persistent problem among the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) patients. This study investigated the relationship between obesity and DLES infection. Records of LVAD patients at two institutions from January 1999 to January 2009 were queried. Results were analyzed using t tests. Those with LVAD support > or =90 days were included. The body mass index (BMI) of each patient was measured at the time of implant and at the conclusion of LVAD support or currently, if the patient was ongoing. Other data included preimplant age, ejection fraction, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, diabetes, New York Heart Association class, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, VO2 max, and inotrope therapy. The 118 patients who qualified for the study were placed in an infection group (n = 36) or in the control group (n = 82). Both groups had similar preimplant characteristics. Variables with differences statistically significant between the groups included duration of LVAD support, indication for support, device type, and BMI. Patients who developed DLES infections had a significantly higher BMI and continued weight gain over the course of LVAD therapy compared with the control group. Although this association requires further study, implications for clinical practice may include the provision of nutrition and exercise counseling for patients undergoing LVAD therapy, especially if overweight. These results may warrant increased measures to prevent and treat infection in the preimplant and postimplant periods.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / complications*
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / epidemiology