Background: There has been increasing utilization of short-term mechanical circulatory support devices for a variety of clinical indications. Many patients have suboptimal iliofemoral access options or reasons why early mobilization is desirable. Axillary artery access is an option for these patients, but little is known about the utility of this approach to facilitate short-term use for circulatory support with microaxial pump devices.
Methods: The Axillary Access Registry to Monitor Safety (ARMS) was a prospective, observational multicenter registry to study the feasibility and acute safety of mechanical circulatory support via percutaneous upper-extremity access.
Results: One hundred and two patients were collected from 10 participating centers. Successful device implantation was 98% (100 of 102). Devices were implanted for a median of 2 days (interquartile range, 0-5 days; range, 0-35 days). Procedural complications included 10 bleeding events and 1 stroke. There were 3 patients with brachial plexus-related symptoms all consisting of C8 tingling and all arising after multiple days of support. Postprocedural access site hematoma or bleeding was noted in 9 patients. Device explantation utilized closure devices alone in 61%, stent grafts in 17%, balloon tamponade facilitated closure in 15%, and planned surgical explant in 5%. Duration of support appeared to be independently associated with a 1.1% increased odds of vascular complication per day ([95% CI, 0.0%-2.3%] P=0.05).
Conclusions: Percutaneous axillary access for use with microaxial support pumps appears feasible with acceptable rates of bleeding despite early experience. Larger studies are necessary to confirm the pilot data presented here.
Keywords: axillary artery; brachial plexus; early ambulation; left ventricular dysfunction; percutaneous coronary intervention; registries.