Risk analysis of bloodstream infection during long-term left ventricular assist device support

Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Nov;94(5):1387-93. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.03.021. Epub 2012 May 8.


Background: Infection during left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support is associated with a high mortality. This study investigated the effect of bloodstream infection on survival of patients with LVAD support and assessed risk factors for survival in LVAD patients with bloodstream infection.

Methods: Between 1999 and 2010, 109 consecutive patients with end-stage heart failure were supported by an LVAD as a bridge to transplantation. Overall survival was compared between those with and without a bloodstream infection. Risk factors for survival of patients with bloodstream infection were analyzed.

Results: A bloodstream infection developed in 65 patients (60%) during 584 ± 389 days of LVAD support. Compared with patients without a bloodstream infection, overall survival was significantly worse in those with bloodstream infection (68% vs 84% at 2 years after LVAD implantation, p = 0.0117). However, of 22 patients bridged to transplantation, none had bloodstream infection recurrence after transplantation, and their 3-year survival rate after transplantation was 100%. Cox multivariate analysis (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]) identified postoperative right ventricular failure (2.890 [1.238 to 6.757]; p = 0.0141) and bloodstream infection caused by a pathogen other than gram-positive cocci (3.336 [1.390 to 8.006] p = 0.0070) as significant risk factors for death in LVAD patients with a bloodstream infection.

Conclusions: Bloodstream infection had a significant effect on survival after LVAD implantation. Our results suggest that urgent cardiac transplantation should be considered for LVAD patients with a bloodstream infection based on the causative organism and right ventricular function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / etiology*
  • Female
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors