Background: Pulmonary hypertension associated with chronic congestive heart failure posses a significant risk of morbidity and death after heart transplantation. Isolated observations suggest that chronic ventricular unloading may lead to normalization of pulmonary pressures and thus render a patient likely to be a heart transplant candidate. Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of 9 heart failure patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension (transpulmonary gradient [TPG] > 15 mm/Hg). Two were treated with a pulsatile left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and 7 with an axial-flow LVAD. Results: After LVAD support, mean pulmonary artery pressure decreased from 39 ± 7 to 31 ± 5 mm Hg, and the TPG decreased from 19 ± 3 to 13 ± 4 mm Hg (p < 0.01). The 1-year Kaplan-Meier survival curve for patients with pre-LVAD TPG > 15 mm Hg vs those with TPG < 15 mm Hg showed no difference in survival (p = 0.6). This finding was supported by analysis of a large multi-institutional cohort obtained from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database, where no differences in survival were found in the same groups. Conclusions: Pulmonary hypertension that is secondary to congestive heart failure, as defined by a TPG > 15 mm Hg can be reversed by the use of pulsatile and axial-flow LVADs; furthermore, post-transplant survival for patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension treated with an LVAD was no different than for those without pulmonary hypertension who received LVAD support.
- mechanical support
- pulmonary hypertension
- transplant candidacy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine