Improvement in Biventricular Cardiac Function After Ambulatory Counterpulsation

J Card Fail. 2019 Jan;25(1):20-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2018.11.001. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background: The NupulseCV intravascular ventricular assist system (iVAS), which consists of a durable pump placed through the subclavian artery, provides extended-duration ambulatory counterpulsation. This study investigated the effect of iVAS on biventricular cardiac function.

Methods and results: We reviewed all heart failure patients who received iVAS implantation as a bridge to transplantation or a bridge to candidacy since April 2016 as part of the iVAS first-in-humans and subsequent feasibility study. We compared data of transthoracic echocardiography performed just before implantation (without iVAS support) and again at 30 days or just before explantation (on iVAS support). Eighteen patients (58.8 ± 7.4 years old and 15 male) received iVAS support for 53 ± 43 days. Fourteen patients were bridged to cardiac replacement therapy after 35 ± 19 days and the remaining 4 patients had been supported for 118 ± 41 days. There were no deaths during iVAS support. At 30 days, there was a significant improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (16.5% ± 11.9% vs 24.4% ± 12.8%; P = .007) and marked reduction in left atrial size (62.7 ± 35.7 mL/m2 vs 33.8 ± 17.2 mL/m2; P < .001). Right ventricular fractional area change improved dramatically (25.4% ± 12.9% vs 42.1% ± 12.4%; P < .001). All other right ventricular and right atrial parameters improved significantly as well (size, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and velocity of tricuspid annular systolic motion).

Conclusions: Improvement in biventricular cardiac function was observed after 30 days of iVAS support. Further studies should examine the use of this technology as a bridge to recovery.

Keywords: Heart failure; echocardiography; inotropes; unloading.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / methods*
  • Counterpulsation / instrumentation
  • Counterpulsation / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*
  • Ventricular Function, Right / physiology*