BACKGROUND: The use of ventricular assist devices for patients with end-stage cardiac failure awaiting heart transplantation has become increasingly common. Ventricular assist devices improve the longevity and the quality of life for these patients. In addition, they serve as a bridge to cardiac allograft transplantation until a donor heart is found. However, ventricular assist device-related infections remain a major problem complicating their long-term use. Clinical infection and sepsis can critically threaten these patients with ventricular assist devices. Infection can delay immediate transplantation and potentially require the removal of the device for definitive treatment of the problem. METHODS: Patients who underwent insertion of a ventricular assist device at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center were identified through accessing the medical records archives of the hospital. Review of patients' medical records was conducted to obtain patient demographics, preoperative diagnosis and disease state, type of ventricular assist device inserted, postoperative day of ventricular assist device infection onset, infectious organism identified, timing of omental flap procedure after the initial insertion, duration of ventricular assist device support before cardiac transplantation, and patient follow-up. RESULTS: There were 76 patients who underwent a ventricular assist device insertion procedure during the 4-year period between January of 2000 and January of 2004. Of the 76 patients who received a device, 11 (14 percent) had evidence of clinical infection secondary to insertion. Two of these 11 patients died before surgical intervention, four had their devices explanted, and the remaining five underwent omental flap transposition with bilateral pectoralis major advancement flaps in surgically addressing their infections. Of the five patients with infections who received omental transposition flaps, two went on to undergo successful transplantation, two continue to await cardiac allograft transplantation, and one died as a result of an unknown cause. CONCLUSIONS: The authors present their experience with five patients who received omental transposition flaps to cover infected ventricular assist device pumps and the associated tubing in large, open sternoabdominal wounds. Treatment included the direct application of an omental transposition flap over the infected device with use of a bilateral pectoralis advancement flap to aid in complete sternal and skin closure of the sternal wound defect. In each of these cases, the use of the omental flap was followed by resolution of the mediastinal infection. In addition, the treatment with an omental flap prevented the removal of infected devices in patients who were otherwise pump dependent during their waiting periods for transplantation. The use of omental transposition flaps can be an effective technique in salvaging infected ventricular assist devices and preserving this valuable device for patients awaiting a cardiac transplant.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Plastic and reconstructive surgery|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2006|
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