Article Abstract

Predictors and impact of right heart failure severity following left ventricular assist device implantation

Authors: Ronald D. Baxter, Kristen M. Tecson, Sasha Still, Justin D. G. Collier, Joost Felius, Susan M. Joseph, Shelley A. Hall, Brian Lima


Background: Right heart failure (RHF) is a well-known consequence of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) placement, and has been linked to negative surgical outcomes. However, little is known regarding risk factors associated with RHF. This article delineates pre- and intra-operative risk factors for RHF following LVAD implantation and demonstrates the effect of RHF severity on key surgical outcomes.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive LVAD patients treated at our center between 2008 and 2016. RHF was categorized using the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) definition of none/mild, moderate, severe, and acute-severe. We constructed a predictive model using multivariable logistic regression and performed a competing risks analysis for survival stratified by RHF severity.
Results: Of 202 subjects, 52 (25.7%) developed moderate or worse RHF. Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) time and nadir hematocrit contributed jointly to the model of RHF severity (moderate or worse vs. none/mild; area under the curve =0.77). Postoperative length of stay (LOS) was shortest in the non/mild group and longest in the acute-severe group (median 13 vs. 29.5 days; P<0.001). Stage 2/3 acute kidney injury (range, 26–57%, P=0.002), respiratory failure (13–94%, P<0.001), stroke (0–32%, P=0.02), and 1-year mortality (19–64%, P=0.002) differed by severity. Those with acute-severe RHF had 5.4 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.5–11.8] times the risk of 1-year mortality compared to those who did not have RHF.
Conclusions: RHF remains a postoperative threat and is associated with worsened surgical outcomes. Ongoing research will reveal further opportunities to mitigate RHF post-LVAD.