Persistent blood stream infection in patients supported with a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device is associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular accidents

J Card Fail. 2015 Feb;21(2):119-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2014.10.019. Epub 2014 Nov 6.


Background: Common adverse events in patients supported with Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVAD) include infections and cerebrovascular accidents (CVA). Some studies have suggested a possible association between blood stream infection (BSI) and CVA.

Methods and results: Medical records of patients who received Heartmate II (HMII) CF-LVADs in 2008-2012 at a single center were reviewed. CVA was categorized as either hemorrhagic (HCVA) or ischemic (ICVA). BSI was divided into persistent (pBSI) and nonpersistent (non-pBSI). pBSI was defined as BSI with the same organism on repeated blood culture >72 hours from initial blood culture despite antibiotics. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine predictors. A total of 149 patients had HMII implanted; 76% were male, and the overall mean age was 55.4 ± 13 years. There were a total of 19 (13%) patients who had CVA (7 HCVA and 12 ICVA) at a median of 295 days (range 5-1,096 days) after implantation. There were a total of 28 (19%) patients with pBSI and 17 (11%) patients with non-pBSI. Patients with pBSI had a trend toward greater BMI (31 kg/m(2) vs 27 kg/m(2); P = .09), and longer duration of support (1,019 d vs 371 d; P < .001) compared with those with non-pBSI. Persistent BSI was associated with an increased risk of mortality and with all-cause CVA on multivariate analysis (odds ratio [OR] 5.97; P = .003) as well as persistent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection (OR 4.54; P = .048).

Conclusions: Persistent BSI is not uncommon in patients supported by CF-LVAD and is highly associated with all-cause CVA and increased all-cause mortality.

Keywords: Left ventricular assist device; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; cerebrovascular accident; infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteremia / diagnosis*
  • Bacteremia / mortality
  • Equipment Contamination*
  • Female
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / microbiology
  • Stroke / mortality