Evolution of Late Right Heart Failure With Left Ventricular Assist Devices and Association With Outcomes

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Dec 7;78(23):2294-2308. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.09.1362.


Background: A revised definition of right heart failure (RHF) for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Intermacs database of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) was introduced in June 2014.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and severity of RHF over time and the association of RHF status at 3 months with 12-month outcomes after LVAD.

Methods: All patients in Society of Thoracic Surgeons Intermacs with follow-up and supported at least 3 months with a continuous flow LVAD implanted between June 2, 2014 and March 31, 2017 without a simultaneous RVAD. RHF was defined as both documentation and manifestations of elevated central venous pressures.

Results: There were 6,118 patients included with an incidence of RHF at 3, 6, and 12 months postimplant categorized as mild in 5%, 6%, and 6% and moderate in 5%, 3%, and 3%, respectively. For those with no RHF at 3 months, there was a low incidence of subsequent RHF at 6 and 12 months. The lack of RHF at 3 months, compared with mild and moderate RHF, was associated with a lower 12-month cumulative incidence of mortality (6.9% vs 16.7% vs 28.1%; P < 0.0001) and a lower 12-month cumulative incidence of stroke (7.4% vs 9.5% vs 11.0%; P = 0.0095), gastrointestinal bleeding (14.8% vs 24.2% vs 23.6%; P < 0.0001), and rehospitalization (65.2% vs 73.2% vs 71.2%; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: In patients surviving 3 months with LVAD support alone, mild or moderate RHF occurred in nearly 1 of 10 patients at 12 months. Patients with late RHF had worse survival and a higher cumulative incidence of major adverse events.

Keywords: mechanical circulatory support; outcomes; quality of life; right heart failure; ventricular assist.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart-Assist Devices / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Function, Right / physiology*