Use of oxygenator with short-term ventricular assist devices

Artif Organs. 2020 Sep 3. doi: 10.1111/aor.13813. Online ahead of print.


Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) serves as a conventional short-term mechanical circulatory assist to support heart and lung functions. The short-term ventricular assist devices (ST-VAD) can, on the contrary, offer only circulatory support. A combination of VAD and oxygenator (Oxy-VAD) could help overcome this potential disadvantage. This is a retrospective case note study of patients supported on ST-VAD which required adding an oxygenator for extra respiratory support. The oxygenator was introduced in the ST-VAD circuit, either on the left or the right side. Twenty-two patients with the etiology of refractory cardiogenic shock in decompensation were supported on Oxy-VAD between years 2009 and 2019 at tertiary care . All patients were classified into class-I INTERMACS with a mean SOFA Score of 14 ± 2.58. 86.4% of patients were already on mechanical support pre-ST-VAD implant, 80% on VA-ECMO. The BiVAD implant accounted for 63.6%, followed by LVAD and RVAD with 27.3% and 9.1%. Mean duration of the ST-VAD was 8.5 days. The oxygenator was introduced in 14 RVAD and 8 LVAD circuits. The oxygenator was successfully weaned in 54.5% while ST-VAD was explanted in 31.8%. Discharge to home survival was 22.7%. Oxy-VAD proves a viable, and probably, a better option to VA-ECMO in acute cardiorespiratory decompensation. It offers organ-specific tailor-made support to the right and/or left heart and/or lungs. While on Oxy-VAD support, each organ performance can be assessed independently, and the assistance of the specifically improved organ can be weaned off without discontinuing the support for the rest.

Keywords: ECMO; Oxy-VAD; heart failure; left ventricular assist device; short-term ventricular assist device.