Argatroban administration as therapy for thrombosis in patients with continuous-flow ventricular assist devices

Leonhard Wert, Jasmin S. Hanke, Günes Dogan, Marcel Ricklefs, Anamika Chatterjee, Christina Feldmann, Issam Ismail, L. Christian Napp, Axel Haverich, Jan D. Schmitto


Background: Device thrombosis is one of the main complications in left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) therapy and remains a challenging issue. Data on device thrombosis management, especially on the application of direct thrombin inhibitors such as argatroban, is limited and a consensus on thrombosis management has not yet been established.
Methods: In this study we analysed retrospective clinical data obtained from 26 patients on VAD therapy who received argatroban for suspected VAD thrombosis, between April, 2012 and February, 2017.
Results: Thirteen patients (50%) showed resolution of thrombus after argatroban therapy. Eight of 26 patients (30.8%) were free of thrombotic events 90 days after discharge. Argatroban therapy was unsuccessful in 13 patients of the study cohort, leading to subsequent VAD-exchange. Six of 13 patients with first VAD-exchange had no thrombotic events 90 days after discharge. Six patients (23.1%) suffered from bleeding, especially gastrointestinal bleeding. No hemorrhagic strokes were observed. Three patients (11.5%) did not survive the follow-up period.
Conclusions: Argatroban appears to be an alternative to other pharmacological treatment options in VAD thrombosis. Efficacy and safety characteristics are acceptable, but further investigation on larger populations is necessary.