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Concept: Ventricular assist device


Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been used as an effective therapeutic option in patients with advanced heart failure, either as a bridge to transplantation, as destination therapy, or in some patients, as a bridge to recovery.

Concepts: Cardiology, Ventricular assist device


There is much interest in form-fitting, low-modulus, implantable devices or soft robots that can mimic or assist in complex biological functions such as the contraction of heart muscle. We present a soft robotic sleeve that is implanted around the heart and actively compresses and twists to act as a cardiac ventricular assist device. The sleeve does not contact blood, obviating the need for anticoagulation therapy or blood thinners, and reduces complications with current ventricular assist devices, such as clotting and infection. Our approach used a biologically inspired design to orient individual contracting elements or actuators in a layered helical and circumferential fashion, mimicking the orientation of the outer two muscle layers of the mammalian heart. The resulting implantable soft robot mimicked the form and function of the native heart, with a stiffness value of the same order of magnitude as that of the heart tissue. We demonstrated feasibility of this soft sleeve device for supporting heart function in a porcine model of acute heart failure. The soft robotic sleeve can be customized to patient-specific needs and may have the potential to act as a bridge to transplant for patients with heart failure.

Concepts: Blood, Cardiology, Heart, Muscle, Cardiac muscle, Circulatory system, Mammal, Ventricular assist device


Background Mechanical circulatory support with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is an established treatment for patients with advanced heart failure. We compared a newer LVAD design (a small intrapericardial centrifugal-flow device) against existing technology (a commercially available axial-flow device) in patients with advanced heart failure who were ineligible for heart transplantation. Methods We conducted a multicenter randomized trial involving 446 patients who were assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to the study (centrifugal-flow) device or the control (axial-flow) device. Adults who met contemporary criteria for LVAD implantation for permanent use were eligible to participate in the trial. The primary end point was survival at 2 years free from disabling stroke or device removal for malfunction or failure. The trial was powered to show noninferiority with a margin of 15 percentage points. Results The intention-to treat-population included 297 participants assigned to the study device and 148 participants assigned to the control device. The primary end point was achieved in 164 patients in the study group and 85 patients in the control group. The analysis of the primary end point showed noninferiority of the study device relative to the control device (estimated success rates, 55.4% and 59.1%, respectively, calculated by the Weibull model; absolute difference, 3.7 percentage points; 95% upper confidence limit, 12.56 percentage points; P=0.01 for noninferiority). More patients in the control group than in the study group had device malfunction or device failure requiring replacement (16.2% vs. 8.8%), and more patients in the study group had strokes (29.7% vs. 12.1%). Quality of life and functional capacity improved to a similar degree in the two groups. Conclusions In this trial involving patients with advanced heart failure who were ineligible for heart transplantation, a small, intrapericardial, centrifugal-flow LVAD was found to be noninferior to an axial-flow LVAD with respect to survival free from disabling stroke or device removal for malfunction or failure. (Funded by HeartWare; ENDURANCE number, NCT01166347 .).

Concepts: Scientific control, Blood, Cardiology, Heart, The Trial, Ventricular assist device, Point, Weibull distribution


Background We observed an apparent increase in the rate of device thrombosis among patients who received the HeartMate II left ventricular assist device, as compared with preapproval clinical-trial results and initial experience. We investigated the occurrence of pump thrombosis and elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels, LDH levels presaging thrombosis (and associated hemolysis), and outcomes of different management strategies in a multi-institutional study. Methods We obtained data from 837 patients at three institutions, where 895 devices were implanted from 2004 through mid-2013; the mean (±SD) age of the patients was 55±14 years. The primary end point was confirmed pump thrombosis. Secondary end points were confirmed and suspected thrombosis, longitudinal LDH levels, and outcomes after pump thrombosis. Results A total of 72 pump thromboses were confirmed in 66 patients; an additional 36 thromboses in unique devices were suspected. Starting in approximately March 2011, the occurrence of confirmed pump thrombosis at 3 months after implantation increased from 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5 to 3.4) to 8.4% (95% CI, 5.0 to 13.9) by January 1, 2013. Before March 1, 2011, the median time from implantation to thrombosis was 18.6 months (95% CI, 0.5 to 52.7), and from March 2011 onward, it was 2.7 months (95% CI, 0.0 to 18.6). The occurrence of elevated LDH levels within 3 months after implantation mirrored that of thrombosis. Thrombosis was presaged by LDH levels that more than doubled, from 540 IU per liter to 1490 IU per liter, within the weeks before diagnosis. Thrombosis was managed by heart transplantation in 11 patients (1 patient died 31 days after transplantation) and by pump replacement in 21, with mortality equivalent to that among patients without thrombosis; among 40 thromboses in 40 patients who did not undergo transplantation or pump replacement, actuarial mortality was 48.2% (95% CI, 31.6 to 65.2) in the ensuing 6 months after pump thrombosis. Conclusions The rate of pump thrombosis related to the use of the HeartMate II has been increasing at our centers and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality.

Concepts: Mortality rate, Median, Device, Arithmetic mean, Lactate dehydrogenase, Ventricular assist device, 2007


Little is known about the clonality of Staphylococcus epidermidis in the United States, although it is the predominant pathogen in infections involving prosthetic materials, including ventricular assist devices (VADs).

Concepts: Bacteria, United States, Staphylococcus, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Ventricular assist device, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Robert Nozick


The HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD) is a new generation centrifugal flow VAD recently introduced in Canada. The objective of this study was to compare the HVAD device to the HeartMate II (HMII) axial flow device. Very few studies have compared clinical outcomes between newer generation VADs.

Concepts: Ventricular assist device


Acquired von Willebrand Syndrome (AvWS) is known as a frequent bleeding complication in patients on ventricular assist device (VAD) support. Clinicians demand that the requirements for VADs with regard to hemocompatibility should also include low susceptibility for AvWS. Clinical AvWS diagnosis is known to be a complex, high-price, and time-consuming analysis. This article investigates an easy-to-handle, time-efficient, and inexpensive method for comparative AvWS investigations in vitro. Von Willebrand Factor activity level (vWF : Ac) and von Willebrand Factor antigen level (vWF : Ag) were chosen from the complete set of clinically established parameters. Blood plasma (human and porcine) was exposed to an inhomogeneous shear field in a shear-inducing test set up for up to 4 h. Plasma samples were drawn after different load periods and analyzed for vWF : Ac and vWF : Ag. vWF multimer analysis of selected samples were used as reference for determination of high molecular weight multimer (HMWM) loss. AvWS was detected after 20 min of shear load via vWF : Ac/vWF : Ag ratio and multimer analysis. A good correlation between the vWF : Ac/vWF : Ag ratio and HMWM loss (multimer analysis) was found for human plasma. AvWS characteristics of human and porcine plasma for analyzed samples were comparable. A correlation between vWF : Ac/vWF : Ag ratio and HMWM in porcine plasma could not be found. Results gained in this study indicate that vWF : Ac/vWF : Ag ratio is sensitive enough for comparative AvWS investigations in vitro with human blood. The applicability of the method suggested in this article for AvWS characterization in porcine blood needs to be investigated in further studies. The selection of analysis kits promises a less cost- and labor-intensive, time-consuming, and complex method for comparative AvWS investigations in vitro compared with AvWS diagnosis in patients.

Concepts: Blood, Hematology, Von Willebrand factor, Von Willebrand disease, Blood plasma, Ventricular assist device, Blood donation, Blood bank


OBJECTIVE: Current pulsatile ventricular assist devices operate asynchronous with the left ventricle in fixed-rate or fill-to-empty modes because electrocardiogram-triggered modes have been abandoned. We hypothesize that varying the ejection delay in the synchronized mode yields more precise control of hemodynamics and left ventricular loading. This allows for a refined management that may be clinically beneficial. METHODS: Eight sheep received a Thoratec paracorporeal ventricular assist device (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, Calif) via ventriculo-aortic cannulation. Left ventricular pressure and volume, aortic pressure, pulmonary flow, pump chamber pressure, and pump inflow and outflow were recorded. The pump was driven by a clinical pneumatic drive unit (Medos Medizintechnik AG, Stolberg, Germany) synchronously with the native R-wave. The start of pump ejection was delayed between 0% and 100% of the cardiac period in 10% increments. For each of these delays, hemodynamic variables were compared with baseline data using paired t tests. RESULTS: The location of the minimum of stroke work was observed at a delay of 10% (soon after aortic valve opening), resulting in a median of 43% reduction in stroke work compared with baseline. Maximum stroke work occurred at a median delay of 70% with a median stroke work increase of 11% above baseline. Left ventricular volume unloading expressed by end-diastolic volume was most pronounced for copulsation (delay 0%). CONCLUSIONS: The timing of pump ejection in synchronized mode yields control over left ventricular energetics and can be a method to achieve gradual reloading of a recoverable left ventricle. The traditionally suggested counterpulsation is not optimal in ventriculo-aortic cannulation when maximum unloading is desired.

Concepts: Blood, Cardiology, Heart, Ventricle, Aorta, Left ventricle, Ventricular assist device, Aortic valve


With the ongoing shortage of available organs for heart transplantation, mechanical circulatory support devices have been increasingly utilized for managing acute and chronic heart failure that is refractory to medical therapy. In particular, the introduction of the left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) has revolutionized the field. In this review, we will discuss a brief history of the LVAD, available devices, current indications, patient selection, complications, and outcomes. In addition, we will discuss recent outcomes and advancements in the field of noncardiac surgery in the LVAD patient. Finally, we will discuss several topics for surgical consideration during LVAD implantation.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Cardiology, Cardiomyopathy, Heart, Organ transplant, Ventricular assist device, A Brief History of Time


To develop and test a lumped parameter model to simulate and compare the effects of the simultaneous use of continuous flow (CF) and pulsatile flow (PF) ventricular assist devices (VADs) to assist biventricular circulation vs. single ventricle circulation in pediatrics.

Concepts: Comparison, Mathematics, Biology, Heart, Computer graphics, Comparisons, Ventricular assist device, Ventricular system