Successful use of temporary right ventricular support to avoid implantation of biventricular long-term assist device: a transcutaneous approach

ASAIO J. Jul-Aug 2011;57(4):274-7. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31821f2130.


Severe right ventricular (RV) failure after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation is a serious complication with a poor prognosis. The most effective therapy for these patients is an upgrade to biventricular mechanical support. However, it is well recognized that primary and secondary biventricular ventricular assist device implantation is associated with higher mortality rates. We report on three patients with cardiogenic shock, who were provided on an emergency basis with a percutaneous extracorporeal life support (ECLS) system by the femoral vessels. After stabilization, a LVAD was implanted. To avoid secondary RV failure, the ECLS was switched to a transcutaneous RV assist device (RVAD) as a temporary RV support. The arterial cannula was removed from the femoral artery, and a prosthesis-supported cannula was sutured to the pulmonary artery and passed through a subxiphoid exit. The femoral vein cannula was left in situ. Both cannulae were connected to a centrifugal pump. Two patients could be weaned from the RVAD; the system was explanted under local anesthesia. One patient died due to internal bleeding. In conclusion, the ease of device implantation, weaning, and explantation justifies a liberal use of temporary RV support to avoid implantation of the problematic long-term biventricular assist devices.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Catheters
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / surgery
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / pathology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / therapy