Role of Echocardiography in the Evaluation of Left Ventricular Assist Devices: the Importance of Emerging Technologies


Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health


The role of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) in patients with end-stage heart failure is well known, both as a temporary treatment before transplantation and as destination therapy, in a scenario of a relative shortage of donors to satisfy the increasing requests for transplantation. The increased population of LVAD patients needs careful imaging assessment before, during, and after LVAD implantation; echocardiography is the best tool for their evaluation and is considered the diagnostic technique of choice for the assessment before, during, and after device implantation. Although the conventional echocardiographic assessment is quite effective in evaluating the main critical issues, the role of new technologies like three-dimensional echocardiography and myocardial deformation measurements is still not properly clarified. In this review, we aim to provide an overview of the main elements that should be considered in the assessment of these patients, underlining the role that could be played by new techniques to improve the diagnostic and prognostic effectiveness of echocardiography in this setting.

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