Device-induced platelet dysfunction in patients after left ventricular assist device implantation

J Thromb Haemost. 2021 May;19(5):1331-1341. doi: 10.1111/jth.15279. Epub 2021 Mar 28.


Background: Non-surgical bleeding (NSB) is a major complication after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. It has been reported that non-physiological shear stress caused by LVADs could alter platelet receptor expression, which leads to bleeding disorders caused by coagulation dysfunctions.

Objectives: Because bleeding diathesis could be multifactorial, we focused on the combined characterization of platelet receptor expression patterns and oxidative stress to compare patients with NSB and patients without coagulation disorder in a monocentric, prospective study.

Methods: Blood samples were obtained from LVAD patients with NSB (bleeder group, n = 19) and without NSB (non-bleeder group, n = 20). The platelet receptors platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), glycoprotein (GP)Ibα, P-selectin, CD63, and GPIIb/IIIa, as well as the production of intraplatelet reactive oxygen species (ROS) were quantified by flow cytometry. Aggregation capacity was evaluated by aggregometry.

Results: The surface expression level of P-selectin and GPIbα on platelets was decreased in bleeders (P-selectin: 465 ± 72 U; GPIbα: 435 ± 41 U) compared to non-bleeders (P-selectin: 859 ± 115 U, P < .01; GPIbα: 570 ± 49 U, p = .04). Additionally, the mean fluorescence intensity of ADP-stimulated P-selectin and PECAM-1 expressing platelets were reduced in bleeders (P-selectin: 944 ± 84 U; PECAM-1: 6722 ± 419 U) compared to non-bleeders (P-selectin: 1269 ± 130 U, P = .04; PECAM-1: 8542 ± 665 U, P = .03). Bleeders showed a higher amount of ROS formation in platelets (88.0 ± 2.6%) than non-bleeders (81.5 ± 2.1%, P = .05).

Conclusions: These findings suggested that changes of three platelet receptors (GPIbα, P-selectin, and PECAM-1) and elevated oxidative stress may play a role in patients with bleeding complications following LVAD implantation. These results might help to explain the high incidence of spontaneous hemorrhage during LVAD support through an altered platelet function.

Keywords: bleeding complication; flow cytometry; heart failure; left ventricular assist device; platelet.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / pathology*
  • Heart-Assist Devices* / adverse effects
  • Hemorrhage
  • Humans
  • P-Selectin
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Platelet Function Tests
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIb-IX Complex
  • Prospective Studies


  • P-Selectin
  • PECAM1 protein, human
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Platelet Glycoprotein GPIb-IX Complex