Evaluation of von Willebrand factor with a fully magnetically levitated centrifugal continuous-flow left ventricular assist device in advanced heart failure

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2016 Jul;35(7):860-7. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2016.05.019. Epub 2016 May 31.


Background: Contemporary continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) are associated with degradation of von Willebrand factor (vWF) high-molecular-weight multimers (HMWMs), a critical factor supporting platelet function. We hypothesized that the HeartMate 3 fully magnetically levitated LVAD, designed to reduce circulatory shear stress, favorably influences these hemostatic parameters.

Methods: Fifteen consecutive HeartMate 3 LVAD patients were compared with 11 consecutive HeartMate II controls. Serial plasma samples were collected pre-implant and on Days 2, 7, 30 and 45 post-operatively. Changes in vWF HMWMs were evaluated by 2 independent, study-blind hematologists and confirmed using densitometry-based computerized software. Ristocetin cofactor (RiCO) and vWF antigen (vWF Ag) were measured using standard protocols with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: HeartMate 3 patients and HeartMate II controls had a mean age of 67.3 ± 1.4 and 52.8 ± 2.5 years, respectively (INTERMACS Profiles 2 to 4 in 93.3% and 91%, respectively). HeartMate 3 group demonstrated a significantly greater preservation of HMWMs compared with the HeartMate II group, with the most prominent decrease occurring by Day 2 post-operatively and sustained through 45 days (71.94% vs 31.16%, p = 0.001). Laboratory values (normalized to baseline) for RiCO activity, vWF Ag and RiCO:vWF Ag ratio remained in the functional range with no statistically significant differences observed between groups.

Conclusion: The HeartMate 3 LVAD is associated with enhanced hemocompatibility compared with the HeartMate II LVAD, as demonstrated by the improved preservation of vWF HMWMs, In contrast, effects on HMWM degradation appeared to be dissociated from functional attributes. Further confirmation of these findings in randomized clinical trials is warranted.

Keywords: hemocompatibility; hemolysis; left ventricular assist device; magnetic levitation; multimers; shear stress; von Willebrand syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Heart Failure*
  • Heart-Assist Devices
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • von Willebrand Diseases
  • von Willebrand Factor


  • von Willebrand Factor