Gender differences during mechanical circulatory support

ASAIO J. 2012 Jul-Aug;58(4):320-5. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e318251cdf9.


Long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS) with ventricular assist devices (VADs) is now an acceptable option for patients with end-stage heart failure (HF). There are growing numbers of reports identifying sex-related differences in the development and prognosis of HF and cardiac surgery. With the experience of 1,607 VAD implantations in our institution we are the first to analyze our data to determine gender distribution in our patient populations and the effect of gender on outcomes. Of the total 1,456 patients with MCS, 1,225 were male and 231 female. The patients were divided into three age groups-below 13 years (group 1, n = 100), between 13 and 50 years (group 2, n = 540) and older than 50 years (group 3, n = 824). Five-year survival, HF etiology, and procedural success, defined as 30-day and 5-year survival were analyzed retrospectively. In group 1 the gender distribution was equal; the leading HF etiology was dilated cardiomyopathy (DCMP) with 17% in male (n = 17) and 19% in female (n = 19) patients, followed by congenital diseases (13% in male versus 9% in female) and postcardiotomy failure (13% in male versus 8% in female). No differences were seen in 5-year survival and procedural success. In group 2, significantly more men (n = 451, p < 0.0001) were supported by VADs. DCMP was the major cause for VAD implantation (54%) and was significantly more frequent in men (57.6%, p = <0.0001). Male patients were older (mean age = 37.1 years, p < 0.0001), with a longer median support time (151.6 days, p < 0.0001) and a higher median weight (78.2 kg, p < 0.0001). No difference was seen in procedural success whereas 5-year survival was better in men than in women (53% vs. 42%, p = 0.02).Group 3 consisted of 723 male patients and 101 female patients (p < 0.0001). Ischemic cardiomyopathy was the main HF etiology (37.9 %) and it was significantly more often the reason for left ventricular assist device support in men (p = 0.009). No differences were seen in procedural success; 5-year survival showed a better outcome in men (49% vs. 25%, p = 0.026). In patients supported by a VAD, gender has a significant impact on the distribution of diagnoses in the adult population. Women were underrepresented in the age group 13-50 years, and 50 years and older, and women had a higher risk for mortality on VAD support in the adult age groups (groups 2 and 3).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Assisted Circulation / adverse effects
  • Assisted Circulation / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome