Aortic regurgitation in patients with a left ventricular assist device: A contemporary review

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2018 Nov;37(11):1289-1297. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2018.07.002. Epub 2018 Sep 7.


Aortic regurgitation (AR) developing while using a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) affects 25% to 30% of patients within the first year of implantation and is increasingly being recognized as a cause of recurrence of symptomatic heart failure (HF). The underlying mechanisms are likely multifactorial, including changes in the leaflets of the aortic valve (AV), altered root biomechanics, and excessive left ventricular (LV) unloading, together promoting cusp remodeling and commissural fusion. Known risk factors for the development of AR while under support include advanced age, lower body surface area, systemic hypertension, large aortic root diameter, permanently closed AV, and duration of support. Further, variants in the anastomotic angle between the outflow graft and the ascending aorta have recently been recognized to induce structural changes in the aortic wall, contributing to the development and progression of AV disease. Nevertheless, it remains controversial as to whether AR on LVAD has an independent impact on prognosis, and no clear recommendation exists regarding its optimal diagnosis criteria and treatment. Herein we briefly review the literature and focus on the latest results regarding development of AR in patients supported with CF-LVADs. We also provide a structured echocardiographic approach for an accurate assessment of AV dysfunction in this challenging situation.

Keywords: aortic regurgitation; echocardiographic assessment; left ventricular assist device; outcomes; risk factors; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Aorta, Thoracic / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Cannula
  • Echocardiography
  • Equipment Design
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome