The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Pre-Operative Sarcopenia is Predictive of Recurrent Gastrointestinal Bleeding on Left Ventricular Assist Device Support: A Multicenter Analysis

Sarcopenia is Predictive of GI Bleeding After LVAD
Published:January 08, 2022DOI:



      Whether pre left ventricular assist device (LVAD) sarcopenia is associated with higher incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) on LVAD support remains unknown.


      To study the association between preoperative sarcopenia and post LVAD GIB events, we performed a retrospective, multi-centered study including patients with chest CTs performed ≤ 3 months prior to LVAD implantation at the University of Minnesota (n=143) and Houston Methodist Hospital (n=133). To quantify sarcopenia, unilateral pectoralis muscle mass indexed to body surface area (PMI) and attenuation (approximated by mean Hounsfield units; PHUm) were measured on pre-operative chest CT scans. Negative binomial regression analyses were performed to determine the association between pectoralis muscle measures and number of GIB events to 2 years of LVAD support.


      The study cohort included 276 LVAD recipients with 43 % designated as bridge to transplant at the time of LVAD implantation. High pectoralis muscle mass and tissue attenuation were both protective against GIB events. Each 5 unit increase in PHUm was associated with an adjusted 19 % reduction in the incidence rate of GIB (95 % CI 7-29 %, p = 0.002). Each unit increase in PMI was associated with an adjusted 17 % reduction in the incidence of GIB (95 % CI 1- 29 %, p = 0.04). The models were adjusted for age, sex, INTERMACS profile, bridge to transplant status, creatinine, albumin and implanting center.


      Preoperative sarcopenia, as quantified by pectoralis muscle size and attenuation, was associated with the development of recurrent GI bleeding after LVAD implantation. These CT quantitative measures appear to predict not only early mortality but morbidity on LVAD as well.


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