Left ventricular assist device implantation with left lateral thoracotomy with anastomosis to the descending aorta

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2018 Aug 1;27(2):186-190. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivy061.


Objectives: Standard implantation of the HeartWare left ventricular assist system is performed using the full sternotomy approach. However, successful implantation of left ventricular assist devices in patients with a previous median sternotomy, especially in high-risk patients, remains challenging. Herein, we compared the HeartWare left ventricular assist system implantation by thoracotomy with anastomosis of the outflow graft to the descending aorta with the standard sternotomy approach.

Methods: Between March 2013 and June 2016, we implanted 118 adult patients with a HeartWare left ventricular assist system, excluding implants with concurrent procedures, paediatric cases and biventricular left ventricular assist device. Of these implants, 30 implants were performed with a lateral thoracotomy with outflow graft anastomosis to the descending aorta. The remaining implants were carried out with the standard median sternotomy with outflow graft anastomosis to the ascending aorta. Propensity matching using the variables age, body mass index, right atrial pressure, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, cardiomyopathy type and Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) levels resulted in a comparative data set of 30 thoracotomy and 30 sternotomy patients.

Results: Within the first 30 days, the incidence of right heart failure (17% vs 10%, thoracotomy vs sternotomy) and bleeding (10% vs 7%, respectively) were similar between the surgical approaches. Thirty-day survival was 93.3% for both groups. Currently, 3 patients in the thoracotomy cohort have been transplanted and 17 remain on support, while in the sternotomy cohort, 1 patient has been transplanted and 21 remain on support.

Conclusions: In our single-centre experience, the lateral thoracotomy with outflow graft anastomosis to the descending aorta had similar early outcomes compared to the standard sternotomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Aorta / surgery
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart Ventricles / surgery
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Prosthesis Implantation / methods*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sternotomy*
  • Thoracotomy*