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

Large animal preclinical investigation into the optimal extracorporeal life support configuration for pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure

Published:November 06, 2022DOI:


      Right ventricular failure (RVF) is a major cause of mortality in pulmonary hypertension (PH). Mechanical circulatory support holds promise for patients with medically refractory PH, but there are no clinical devices for long-term right ventricular (RV) support. Investigations into optimal device parameters and circuit configurations for PH-induced RVF (PH-RVF) are needed.


      Eleven sheep underwent previously published chronic PH model. We then evaluated a low-profile, ventricular assist device (VAD)-quality pump combined with a novel low-resistance membrane oxygenator (Pulmonary Assist Device, PAD) under one of four central cannulation strategies: right atrium-to-left atrium (RA-LA, N = 3), RA-to-pulmonary artery (RA-PA, N=3), pumpless pulmonary artery-to-left atrium (PA-LA, N = 2), and RA-to-ascending aorta (RA-Ao, N = 3). Acute-on-chronic RVF (AoC RVF) was induced, and mechanical support was provided for up to 6 hours at blood flow rates of 1 to 3 liter/min. Circuit parameters, physiologic, hemodynamic, and echocardiography data were collected.


      The RA-LA configuration achieved blood flow of 3 liter/min. Meanwhile, RA-PA and RA-Ao faced challenges maintaining 3 liter/min of flow due to higher circuit afterload. Pumpless PA-LA was flow-limited due to anatomical limitations inherent to this animal model. RA-LA and RA-Ao demonstrated serial RV unloading with increasing circuit flow, while RA-PA did not. RA-LA also improved left ventricular (LV) and septal geometry by echocardiographic assessment and had the lowest inotropic dependence.


      RA-LA and RA-Ao configurations unload the RV, while RA-LA also lowers pump speed and inotropic requirements, and improves LV mechanics. RA-PA provide inferior support for PH-RVF, while an alternate animal model is needed to evaluate PA-LA.



      AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation), Ao (aorta), AoC (acute-on-chronic), ECLS (extracorporeal life support), EOPA (elongated one-piece arterial (cannula)), Fr (French), MAP (mean arterial pressure), O2 (oxygen), PA (pulmonary artery), PAD (Pulmonary Assist Device), PH (pulmonary hypertension), RA (right atrium), RVF (right ventricular failure), RVSP (right ventricular systolic pressure), VA (veno-arterial), VAD (ventricular assist device)
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