Acquired coagulopathy in patients with left ventricular assist devices

J Thromb Haemost. 2018 Mar;16(3):429-440. doi: 10.1111/jth.13933. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Chronic heart failure (HF) is a major emerging healthcare problem, associated with a high morbidity and mortality. Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have emerged as a successful treatment option for patients with end-stage HF. Despite its great benefit, the use of LVAD is associated with a high risk of complications. Bleeding, pump thrombosis and thromboembolic events are frequently observed complications, with bleeding complications occurring in over a third of the patients. Although the design of the third-generation LVAD has improved greatly, these hemostatic complications still occur. The introduction of an LVAD into the circulatory system results in an altered hematological balance as a consequence of blood-pump interactions, changes in hemodynamics, the rheology, and the concomitant need for anticoagulation while implanted with an LVAD. The majority, if not all, LVAD patients experience a form of platelet dysfunction and impaired von Willebrand factor activity, leading to acquired coagulopathy disorders. Different diagnostic tools and treatment strategies have been reported; however, they require validation in LVAD patients. The present review focuses on acquired coagulopathies, describing the incidence, impact and underlying mechanism of acquired coagulopathy disorders in patients supported by LVADs. In addition, we will discuss diagnostic and management strategies for these acquired coagulopathies.

Keywords: blood coagulation disorders; heart failure; hemorrhage; thrombosis; ventricular assist device.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / etiology*
  • Blood Platelet Disorders / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hemostasis
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Rheology
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombocytopenia / blood
  • Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • von Willebrand Diseases / complications
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis


  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Heparin