Cavitation in left ventricular assist device patients: a potential early sign of pump thrombosis


Mechanical ventricular support with left ventricular assist device (LVAD) has emerged as a durable and safe therapy, both as bridge-to-transplant (BTT) or destination therapy (DT), in patients with advanced heart failure (HF). However, the occurrence of pump thrombosis (PT) still represents a serious complication, especially when LVADs of first or second generation are implanted. During the latest years, some investigations have recognized the occurrence of cavitation, evidenced through transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), as a potential early and indirect sign of PT. In the present manuscript, we reviewed the available data on the occurrence of cavitation in LVAD patients as an early potential marker of PT, also presenting the hemodynamic mechanisms involved.

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Destination therapy


High-intensity transient signals


Left ventricular assist device


Left ventricular end diastolic diameter




Pump thrombosis


Vapor pressure


Transcranial Doppler


Transthoracic echocardiography


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Correspondence to Gianluca Rigatelli.

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Zuin, M., Rigatelli, G., Braggion, G. et al. Cavitation in left ventricular assist device patients: a potential early sign of pump thrombosis. Heart Fail Rev 25, 965–972 (2020).

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  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Pump thrombosis
  • Cavitation
  • Microbubbles
  • Echocardiography