Successful treatment of early thrombosis of HeartWare left ventricular assist device with intraventricular thrombolytics

Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Jul;94(1):281-3. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.12.024.


In the last few years, left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have moved to the forefront in the management of patients with advanced heart failure. Pumps have gradually become smaller and more efficient and have clearly demonstrated survival benefits and improvement in functional status and quality of life in patients with advanced heart failure. Despite impressive advances in device technology, risk of severe complications remains, such as device thrombosis. A 62-year-old man who underwent HeartWare LVAD implantation as a bridge to cardiac transplant was admitted 18 days after device implantation with severe shortness of breath, fatigue and lethargy; he was found to have increased pump flows with high power demands and evidence of cardiogenic shock. An echocardiogram showed an echo density at the inflow cannula that was suggestive of thrombosis. Laboratory data showed evidence of hemolysis. He was treated successfully with intraventricular tissue plasminogen activator with rapid resolution of his symptoms and return of LVAD flow and power consumption to baseline. The patient was discharged with no complications or recurrence of thrombosis and received a successful transplant 1 month later.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Ventricles*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator