Short-term mechanical circulatory support for recovery from acute right ventricular failure: clinical outcomes

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2014 Aug;33(8):794-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2014.02.028. Epub 2014 Mar 4.


Background: Acute right ventricular failure (ARVF) refractory to optimal medical management may require rescue therapy with mechanical circulatory support (MCS). The RV exhibits a greater capacity for rapid recovery than the left ventricle, making devices designed specifically for temporary RV MCS attractive. We report our experience with the Impella Right Direct (RD) and Right Peripheral (RP) temporary ventricular assist devices (Abiomed, Danvers, MA) in patients with ARVF.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study examining the clinical outcomes of consecutive patients supported with the Impella RD or RP at 2 institutions during a 6-year period.

Results: During the study period, 18 patients (67% men; mean age 57 ± 10 years) received MCS, 15 with the Impella RD and 3 with the Impella RP. Before RV MCS, all patients required intravenous inotropes, 7 (39%) required inhaled nitric oxide, 7 (39%) required intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation, and 2 (11%) had experienced a cardiac arrest. Device implantation resulted in an improvement in cardiac index (2.1 ± 0.1 liters/min/m(2) pre-implant vs 2.6 ± 0.2 liters/min/m(2) post-implant, p = 0.04) and reduced central venous pressure (22 ± 5 vs 15 ± 4 mm Hg, p < 0.01). Fourteen (78%) patients recovered sufficient RV function to facilitate device explanation after 7 days (range, 2-19 days) of support, and 4 (22%) patients died on support after 6 days (range 1-11 days). Survival to 30 days was 72% and to 1 year was 50%. At 1-year follow-up, the mean New York Heart Association functional classification was 1.3 ± 0.5, and only 1 patient demonstrated severe RV dysfunction on echocardiography.

Conclusions: Most patients with ARVF rapidly recover sufficient RV function to facilitate device explantation, highlighting an expanding role for minimally invasive temporary RV assist devices optimized for the treatment of recoverable ARVF.

Keywords: cardiogenic shock; heart-assist device; mechanical circulatory support; right ventricular failure; ventricular assist device.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / mortality
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / therapy*