Extracorporeal driveline vibrations to detect left ventricular assist device thrombosis - A porcine model study

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2024 Jan;43(1):111-119. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2023.08.022. Epub 2023 Sep 4.


Background: Pump thrombosis (PT) and related adverse complications contributed to the HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD) market withdrawal. Many patients still receive lifelong support, with deficient PT surveillance based on pump power trends. Analysis of pump vibrations is better for detecting PT. Here, we investigated the feasibility of an extracorporeal accelerometer to detect PT from pump vibrations propagated out on the driveline.

Methods: In a porcine HVAD model (n = 6), an accelerometer was attached to the pump as a reference and another to the driveline for comparisons of signals. In total, 59 thrombi were injected into the heart to induce PT, followed by intermittent thrombus washout maneuvers. Signals were compared visually in spectrograms and quantitatively in third harmonic saliences (S3H) by correlation analysis. Receiver operating characteristic curves expressed the method's outcome in sensitivity vs specificity, with the overall diagnostic performance in the area under the curve (AUC) score.

Results: Five experiments had good driveline signal strength, with clear spectrographic relationships between the 2 accelerometers. Third harmonic driveline vibrations were visible 20 vs 30 times in the reference. The comparison in S3H showed a strong correlation and yielded an AUC of 0.85. Notably, S3H proved robust regarding noise and false PT detections.

Conclusions: An extracorporeal accelerometer on the driveline can be a readily available method for accurate HVAD PT detection before an accelerometer integration with left ventricular assist device is feasible.

Keywords: LVAD pump thrombosis; accelerometer; detection; driveline; vibrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heart Failure*
  • Heart-Assist Devices* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Swine
  • Thrombosis* / diagnosis
  • Thrombosis* / epidemiology
  • Thrombosis* / etiology
  • Vibration