Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to durable left ventricular assist device implantation in INTERMACS-1 patients

J Artif Organs. 2022 Mar;25(1):16-23. doi: 10.1007/s10047-021-01275-3. Epub 2021 May 13.


Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly used as destination therapy or as a bridge to future cardiac transplant in patients with end-stage heart failure. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) can be used to bridge patients in cardiogenic shock or with decompensated heart failure to durable mechanical circulatory support. We assessed outcomes in patients in critical cardiogenic shock (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support [INTERMACS] profile 1) who underwent implantation of a continuous-flow (CF)-LVAD, with or without preoperative ECMO bridging. For this retrospective study, we selected INTERMACS profile 1 patients who underwent CF-LVAD implantation at our institution between Sep 1, 2004 and Nov 30, 2018. Of 768 patients identified, 133 (17.3%) were INTERMACS profile 1; 26 (19.5%) received preoperative ECMO support, and 107 (80.5%) did not. Postimplantation outcomes were compared between the ECMO and no-ECMO groups. No significant differences were found in 30-day mortality (15.4 vs. 15.9%, P = 0.95) or survival at 1 year (53.8 vs. 60.9%, P = 0.51). Three patients who received ECMO before CF-LVAD implantation subsequently underwent cardiac transplant. In the ECMO group, the lactate level 1 day after ECMO initiation was lower in survivors than nonsurvivors (2.7 ± 2.2 vs. 7.4 ± 4.2 mmol/L, P = 0.02; area under the curve = 0.85, P = 0.01) after CF-LVAD implantation. Bridging with ECMO to CF-LVAD implantation in carefully selected INTERMACS profile 1 patients (those who are at the highest risk for critical cardiogenic shock and for whom palliation may be the only other option) produced acceptable postoperative outcomes.Field of research: Artificial lung/ECMO.

Keywords: Extracorporeal life support; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; Heart assist devices; Heart failure; Shock; Ventricular assist device.

MeSH terms

  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Heart Failure* / surgery
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome