Paracorporeal ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplant candidacy in the era of implantable continuous-flow ventricular assist device
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Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have long been used as bridge to transplant therapy (BTT). Nipro-Toyobo paracorporeal pulsatile-flow VAD (nt-VAD) was the only device available until April 2011, when implantable continuous-flow VADs (cf-VADs) became available. Although cf-VADs are central to BTT, nt-VAD remains a necessary option. We aimed to clarify the role of nt-VAD in an era of increasing cf-VAD use. We retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent VAD implantation at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center from May 2011 to March 2013. Characteristics were compared between the nt-VAD and cf-VAD groups. Twenty-nine patients (mean age 37.7 ± 11.1 years, 23 males) underwent VAD implantation. Fifteen patients initially received nt-VADs, although 4 were converted to cf-VADs. Of these 15 patients, 3 were too small for cf-VADs and 2 needed bilateral ventricular support. The remaining 10 patients received nt-VADs (7 patients at INTERMACS level 1 and 3 at level 2). The nt-VAD group patients had significantly more preoperative mechanical circulatory support and were in a more critical condition before VAD implantation than the cf-VAD group. The 2-year survival rate was not significantly different. Despite the critical conditions of nt-VAD patients, their overall survival is not statistically inferior to that of cf-VAD patients. nt-VAD is a good option as a BTC for the patient with urgent and critical condition.