Background: The axillary intraaortic balloon pump (IABP) is frequently used in selected patients for circulatory support as a bridge to heart transplantation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of axillary intraaortic balloon pump (IABP) support for heart transplant candidates.
Methods: The study investigators collected data on 133 patients who underwent axillary IABP support as a bridge to transplantation from July 2009 to April 2019. Of these patients, 94 (70.7%) underwent IABP insertion with surgical axillary grafts, and 39 (29.3%) underwent percutaneous IABP insertion. The outcomes of interest included ambulatory data, IABP-related complications, and successful heart transplantation with this type of support.
Results: The overall preoperative ejection fraction was 20.3% ± 8.0%. The median duration of axillary IABP support was 21days, with 131patients (98.5%) mobilizing with the device. Hemodynamic variables significantly improved after the axillary IABP support was placed. Overall, 122 patients (91.7%) were successfully bridged to heart transplantation. Six patients (4.5%) required escalation to further mechanical support. Two patients (1.5%) died while awaiting transplantation. Four patients (3.0%) experienced a stroke during axillary IABP support (3 before transplantation and1 after transplantation). Two of the 3 patients with a stroke diagnosis before transplantation recovered and eventually underwent heart transplantation.
Conclusions: With axillary IABP support, most patients were able to ambulate and undergo physical rehabilitation while waiting for heart transplantation. This study demonstrates that axillary IABP results in a high success rate of bridge to transplantation and a low number of complications. Thus, an ambulatory axillary IABP provided efficient and safe support for selected patients as a bridge to heart transplantation.
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