Background: Significant aortic regurgitation (AR) after continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (cf-LVAD) placement affects device performance and patient outcomes. This study examined the development of AR and long-term results after implantation of cf-LVADs.
Methods: The study included all patients with no or less than mild AR who underwent HeartMate II (58 [62%]; Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, CA) or HeartWare (35 [38%]; HeartWare International, Framingham, MA) implantation at our institute from July 2006 to July 2012. Serial echocardiograms were obtained preoperatively, at 1, 3 and 6 months postoperatively, and then at a minimum of 4-month intervals in patients with longer-term support. Kaplan-Meier estimates for freedom from moderate or greater AR were generated. Logistic regression analysis was used to define independent predictors of AR after cf-LVAD implantation.
Results: Median duration of LVAD support was 527 days (25(th), 75(th): 289, 907; range, 60 to 2,433 days). Mild AR developed in 48 patients (51.6%) over a median duration of 126 days, with progression to moderate AR in 13 (14%) over 493 days and to severe AR in 2 (2.1%) over 1,231 days. The incidence of mild or greater AR was 43.1% in HeartMate II vs 65.7% in HeartWare recipients (p = 0.035). Overall freedom from moderate or greater AR was 94.7% ± 2.6% at 1 year, 86.9% ± 4.5% at 2 years, 82.8% ± 5.9% at 3 years, and 31% ± 16.9% at 4 years. Independent predictors of AR were duration of support (odds ratio, 1.002; 95% confidence interval, 1.000 to 1.004; p = 0.017) and a persistently closed aortic valve (odds ratio, 0.193; 95% confidence interval, 0.097 to 0.382; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: AR is associated with longer cf-LVAD support duration and persistent aortic valve closure. Incidence of moderate or greater AR after cf-LVAD implantation increases significantly after 3 years. The clinical implications of these data may warrant consideration of prophylactic aortic valve replacement at the time of cf-LVAD implantation, particularly with expected longer duration of support and in patients with preexisting AR that is more than mild.
Copyright © 2014 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.