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Impella RP Versus Pharmacologic Vasoactive Treatment in Profound Cardiogenic Shock due to Right Ventricular Failure


The aim was to translationally compare a pharmacologic strategy versus treatment with the Impella RP in profound RV cardiogenic shock (CS). The pigs were allocated to either vasoactive therapy with norepinephrine (0.10 μg/kg/min) for the first 30 min, supplemented by an infusion of milrinone (0.4 μg/kg/min) for additional 150 min, or treatment with the Impella RP device for 180 min. Total RV workload (Pressure-volume-area × heart rate*103(mmHg/min)) remained unaffected upon treatment with the Impella RP and increased in the vasoactive group (CS 179[147;228] to norepinephrine 268[247;306](p = 0.002 compared to Impella RP) and norepinephrine + milrinone 366[329;422] (p = 0.002 compared to Impella RP). A trend towards higher venous cerebral oxygen saturation was observed with norepinephrine than Impella RP (Impella RP 51[47;61]% vs norepinephrine 62[57;71]%; p = 0.07), which became significantly higher with the addition of milrinone (Impella RP 45[32;63]% vs norepinephrine + milrinone 73[66;81]%; p = 0.002). The Impella RP unloaded the failing RV. In contrast, vasoactive treatment led to enhanced cerebral venous oxygen saturation.

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Cardiogenic shock


Central venous pressure


End-diastolic volume


End-diastolic pressure


End-systolic pressure


Heart rate


Left ventricle


Mean arterial pressure


Pulmonary artery pressure


Pressure-volume area


Right ventricle


Stroke work


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We would like to acknowledge the skilled and helpful staff at Biomedical Laboratory at Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.


This work was supported by the Danish Heart Foundation, Abiomed, and the Jørgen Møller Foundation. The funders had no influence on any aspects of current work.

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Correspondence to Jakob Josiassen.

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Professor Møller has received a research grant from Abiomed. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.

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Josiassen, J., Helgestad, O.K.L., Udesen, N.L.J. et al. Impella RP Versus Pharmacologic Vasoactive Treatment in Profound Cardiogenic Shock due to Right Ventricular Failure. J. of Cardiovasc. Trans. Res. (2021).

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  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Translational science
  • Ventricular unloading
  • Impella RP
  • Hemodynamics
  • Vasopressor