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

Hemodynamic reserve predicts early right heart failure after LVAD implantation

      Background

      Early right heart failure (RHF) remains a major source of morbidity and mortality after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation, yet efforts to predict early RHF have proven only modestly successful. Pharmacologic unloading of the left ventricle may be a risk stratification approach allowing for assessment of right ventricular and hemodynamic reserve.

      Methods

      We performed a multicenter, retrospective analysis of patients who had undergone continuous-flow LVAD implantation from October 2011 to April 2020. Only those who underwent vasodilator testing with nitroprusside during their preimplant right heart catheterization were included (n = 70). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine independent predictors of early RHF as defined by Mechanical Circulatory Support–Academic Research Consortium.

      Results

      Twenty-seven patients experienced post-LVAD early RHF (39%). Baseline clinical characteristics were similar between patients with and without RHF. Patients without RHF, however, achieved higher peak stroke volume index (SVI) (30.1 ± 8.8 vs 21.7 ± 7.4 mL/m2; p < 0.001; AUC: 0.78; optimal cut-point: 22.1 mL/m2) during nitroprusside administration. Multivariable analysis revealed that peak SVI was significantly associated with early RHF, demonstrating a 16% increase in risk of early RHF per 1 ml/m2 decrease in SVI. A follow up cohort of 10 consecutive patients from July 2020 to October 2021 resulted in all patients being categorized appropriately in regards to early RHF versus no RHF according to peak SVI.

      Conclusion

      Peak SVI with nitroprusside administration was independently associated with post-LVAD early RHF while resting hemodynamics were not. Vasodilator testing may prove to be a strong risk stratification tool when assessing LVAD candidacy though additional prospective validation is needed.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      CI (cardiac index), Ea (elastance), MCS-ARC (Mechanical Circulatory Support–Academic Research Consortium), PAWP (pulmonary artery wedge pressure), RHC (right heart catheterization), RHF (right heart failure), RVAD (right ventricular assist device), SVI (stroke volume index)
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