Although complete myocardial recovery after ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation is rather seldom, systematic search for recovery is worthwhile because for recovered patients weaning from VADs is feasible and can provide survival benefits with long-term freedom from heart failure (HF) recurrence, even if a chronic cardiomyopathy was the primary cause for the drug-refractory HF necessitating left ventricular (LVAD) or biventricular support (as bridge-to-transplantation or definitive therapy) and even if recovery remains incomplete. LVAD patients explanted for myoacardial recovery compared to those transplanted from LVAD support showed similar survival rates and a significant proportion of explanted patients can achieve cardiac and physical functional capacities that are within the normal range of healthy controls. In apparently sufficiently recovered patients, a major challenge remains still the pre-explant prediction of the weaning success which is meanwhile reliably possible for experienced clinicians. In weaning candidates, the combined use of certain echocardiography and right heart catheterization parameters recorded before VAD explantation can predict post-weaning cardiac stability with good accuracy. However, in the absence of standardization or binding recommendations, the protocols for assessment of native cardiac improvement and also the weaning criteria differ widely among centers. Currently there are still only few larger studies on myocardial recovery assessment after VAD implantation. Therefore, the weaning practice relies mostly on small case series, local practice patterns, and case reports, and the existing knowledge, as well as the partially differing recommendations which are based mainly on expert opinions, need to be periodically systematised. Addressing these shortcomings, our review aims to summarize the evidence and expert opinion on the evaluation of cardiac recovery during mechanical ventricular support by paying special attention to the reliability of the methods and parameters used for assessment of myocardial recovery and the challenges met in both evaluation of recovery and weaning decision making.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Heart failure
- Myocardial recovery
- Ventricular assist devices (VADs)
- Ventricular function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine