Significance of postoperative acute renal failure after continuous-flow left ventricular assist device implantation

Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Jan;95(1):163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.08.076. Epub 2012 Oct 25.


Background: Deteriorating renal function is common in patients with advanced heart failure and is associated with poor outcomes. The relationship between renal function and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation is complex and has been explored in multiple studies with contradictory results. The aim of our study is to examine the significance of postoperative renal failure after implantation of a continuous-flow LVAD and its relationship to outcomes.

Methods: From March 2006 to July 2011, 100 patients underwent implantation of a HeartMate II (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, CA) or HeartWare (Heart International, Inc, Framingham, MA) LVAD at our institution. Patients were stratified based on postoperative development of acute renal failure (ARF). Variables were compared using 2-sided t tests, χ(2) tests, Cox proportional hazards models, and log-rank tests to determine whether there was a difference between the 2 groups and whether postoperative renal failure was a significant independent predictor of outcome.

Results: We identified 28 patients (28%) with postoperative ARF and 72 patients (72%) without postoperative ARF. The 2 groups were similar with regard to demographics and comorbidities. The patients with ARF were more likely to be intubated preoperatively (14.3% versus 1.4%; p = 0.021) and had higher preoperative central venous pressure (CVP) (14.3 mm Hg versus 10.7 mm Hg; p = 0.015). Postoperatively patients with ARF had a longer hospital stay (32.4 versus 18.7; p = 0.05), were more likely to experience right ventricular (RV) failure (25% versus 5.6%; p = 0.01) and ventilator-dependent respiratory failure (VDRF) (28.6% versus 6.9%; p = 0.007). There was a significant difference when comparing the ARF and non-ARF groups for 30-day (17.9% versus 0%; p < 0.001), 180-day (28.6% versus 2.8%; p < 0.001), and 360-day mortality (28.6% versus 6.9%; p = 0.012).

Conclusions: Patients in whom ARF developed after LVAD implantation had a higher rate of VDRF and RV failure and a longer length of stay (LOS). Postoperative ARF was associated with higher mortality at the 30-day, 180-day, and 360-day intervals. ARF after LVAD may be an early marker of poor outcome, particularly RV failure, and may be an opportunity for early intervention and rescue.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Retrospective Studies