HeartWare ventricular assist device cannula position and hemocompatibility-related adverse events


Advocate Heart Institute, Advocate Christ Medical Center


© 2020 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Background: HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD) cannula position is associated with hemodynamics and heart failure readmissions. However, its impact on hemocompatibility-related adverse events (HRAEs) remains uncertain.

Methods: HVAD patients were followed for 1 year after index hospitalization, when cannula coronal angle was quantified from chest x-ray film. Invasive right heart catheterization and transthoracic echocardiography were performed. One-year occurrences of each HRAE were compared between those with and without a cannula coronal angle of greater than 65 degrees.

Results: Among 63 HVAD patients (median age 60 years, 63% male), 10 (16%) had a cannula coronal angle greater than 65 degrees. The wide-angle group had elevated intracardiac pressures and lower pulmonary artery pulsatility index (P < .05). They also had reduced right ventricular function by echocardiography. Freedom from HRAEs tended to be lower in the wide-angle group (24% vs 62%; P = .11). The rate of gastrointestinal bleeding was significantly higher in the greater than 65 degrees group (0.90 events/year vs 0.40 events/year; P = .013). The rates of stroke and pump thrombosis were statistically comparable irrespective of cannula angle (P > .05).

Conclusions: HVAD cannula coronal angle was associated with reduced right ventricular function and HRAEs. Prospective studies evaluating surgical techniques to ensure optimal device positioning and its effects on HRAEs are warranted.

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