Device exchange after primary left ventricular assist device implantation: indications and outcomes

Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Apr;95(4):1262-7; discussion 1267-8. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.08.031. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Background: Patients are being supported for longer periods with implantable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) owing to longer transplantation wait times and approval of LVADs for destination therapy. This comes with an increased potential need for device exchange when complications arise. There are few data examining this patient population.

Methods: Between August 1998 and January 2012, 45 patients (34 men) underwent 57 device exchanges after primary pulsatile or continuous-flow LVAD implantation. The median age at the initial LVAD implantation was 58 years (range, 28-78 years) and the median time to first device exchange was 15 months (range, immediate-56 months). Indications for primary LVAD included bridge to transplantation in all but 10 patients, and devices included the HeartMate I (Thoratec, Pleasanton, CA) in 16 patients, the HeartMate II (Thoratec) in 21 patients, the HeartWare HVAD (HeartWare, Framingham, MA) in 2 patients, the DuraHeart I (Terumo Heart, Ann Arbor, MI) in 1 patient, and other devices in 5 patients. Indications for reoperation included device/component failure (n=24), major driveline infection (n=15), pump thrombus (n=15), and other indications (n=2).

Results: Pumps implanted in 57 reoperations included the HeartMate I in 15 patients, the HeartMate II in 35 patients, the HeartWare HVAD in 2 patients, the DuraHeart I in 2 patients, and other devices in 3 patients. Early mortality occurred in 2/57 (3.5%) patients. Median follow-up was 18 months (range, 1-113 months); median length of LVAD therapy after the first device exchange was 13 months (range, 1-59 months). Actuarial 1-year survival and freedom from repeated device exchange after the first exchange was 89% and 79%, respectively.

Conclusions: Device exchange may be required after LVAD implantation. This can be performed with low early mortality and no adverse effect on late survival. Multiple reoperations may be required in some patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart Transplantation / methods*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult