The first-in-human experience with a minimally invasive, ambulatory, counterpulsation heart assist system for advanced congestive heart failure

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2018 Jan;37(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2017.10.011. Epub 2017 Nov 10.


Background: The intravascular ventricular assist system (iVAS) is a new, minimally invasive, ambulatory counterpulsation heart assist system delivered via the subclavian artery and powered by a portable driver. It is designed for recovery, bridge to transplantation (BTT) or for prolonging medical therapy. We report the first-in-human (FIH) experience with iVAS.

Methods: This is a prospective, non-randomized single arm, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved early feasibility trial in patients listed for cardiac transplantation. The primary end-point was survival to transplant or stroke-free survival at 30 days.

Results: Fourteen patients were enrolled and 13 (92.8%) were treated with iVAS. At time of implant, the average age was 58 ± 6.7 years; 85% were male; 28% had ischemic cardiomyopathy; and 3 were Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Devices (INTERMACS) Level 2, 9 were Level 3, and 1 was Level 4. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 22%, left ventricular internal diameter diastole was 7.13 mm, and 69% had moderate or severe mitral regurgitation. There were no intra-operative complications. Intensive care unit stay after implant was 6 ± 6 days. All patients were transplanted after 32 ± 21 days. There were no deaths or thromboembolic events: 1 patient required escalation of mechanical support, and post-implant complications included pleuritis/pericarditis (n = 1) and neuropathy (n = 2). No intra-operative blood transfusions were required.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates a high rate of successful outcomes with an excellent risk-to-benefit profile. This FIH experience reveals that the iVAS can be successfully inserted in a standardized approach, provide hemodynamic support, can be interrupted for short periods, and allows for ambulation. A multicenter trial to investigate effectiveness and safety is warranted.

Keywords: cardiogenic shock; congestive heart failure; counterpulsation; mechanical assist device; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Counterpulsation / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index