Background: Ventricular assist devices (VAD) are implanted with a growing frequency in patients with end-stage heart failure. In spite of technical and therapeutic advances, there is still a high incidence of device infections and healing disturbances with a considerable mortality. Reconstructive plastic surgery is able to provide help in erradicating infections and covering defects.
Patients and methods: 11 patients with device infections and soft tissue defects were treated in our institution. All cases were treated with local myocutaneous or muscle flaps.
Results: Three patients had postoperative haematomas which had to be revised surgically. One patient had a persistent fistula of mediastinal origin but without clinical symptoms of infection. One patient exhibited an enterocutaneous fistula after defect coverage.
Conclusion: Patients with VADs have a high possibility of perioperative complications. Therefore a close interdisciplinary approach with plastic and cardiovascular surgeons is absolutely essential.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.