Purpose: The use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) in patients with chronic end-stage or acute heart failure has led to improved survival. We present our experience since 1987. Subjects and Methods: Between July 1987 and December 2006, 1026 VADs were implanted in 970 patients. Most of them were men (81.9%). The indications were: cardiomyopathy (n = 708), postcardiotomy heart failure (n = 173), acute myocardial infarction (n = 36), acute graft failure (n = 45), a VAD problem (n = 6), and others (n = 2). Mean age was 46.1 (range 3 days to 78) years. In 50.5% of the patients the VAD implanted was left ventricular, in 47.9% biventricular, and in 1.5% right ventricular. There were 14 different types of VAD. A total artificial heart was implanted in 14 patients. Results: Survival analysis showed higher early mortality (p < 0.05) in the postcardiotomy group (50.9%) than in patients with preoperative profound cardiogenic shock (31.1%) and patients with preoperative end-stage heart failure without severe shock (28.9%). A total of 270 patients were successfully bridged to heart transplantation (HTx). There were no significant differences in long-term survival after HTx among patients with and without previous VAD. In 76 patients the device could be explanted after myocardial recovery. In 72 patients the aim of implantation was permanent support. During the study period 114 patients were discharged home. Currently, 54 patients are on a device. Conclusions: VAD implantation may lead to recovery from secondary organ failure. Patients should be considered for VAD implantation before profound, possibly irreversible, cardiogenic shock occurs. In patients with postcardiotomy heart failure, a more efficient algorithm should be developed to improve survival. With increased experience, more VAD patients can participate in out-patient programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine