Less invasive left ventricular assist device implantation may reduce right ventricular failure.
Right ventricular (RV) failure after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation continues to be a morbid complication. In this study, we hypothesized that a less invasive approach to implantation would preserve RV function relative to a conventional sternotomy (CS) approach.
All patients (2013-2017) who underwent LVAD implantation were reviewed. Patients were stratified by surgical approach: less invasive left thoracotomy with hemi-sternotomy (LTHS) and CS. The primary outcome was severe RV failure.
Eighty-three patients (LTHS: 37, CS: 46) were identified. The median Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) score was significantly worse in the LTHS compared to the CS cohort, and there was a trend towards higher RV failure scores and HeartMate II mortality scores. Preoperative RV dysfunction, in pulmonary artery pulsatility index and RV stroke work index were similar between the 2 groups. Though operative time did not significantly differ between the 2 groups, cardiopulmonary bypass time was significantly shorter in the LTHS group (61 vs 95 min, P < 0.001). The incidence of postoperative severe RV failure was significantly reduced in the LTHS group (16% vs 39%, P = 0.030), along with the need for temporary right ventricular assist device (3% vs 26%, P = 0.005). Improvement in RV function, along with a change in pulmonary artery pulsatility index, was significantly greater in the LTHS cohort. There was a trend towards improved Kaplan-Meier 1-year survival in the LTHS cohort (91% vs 56%, P = 0.056).
In this cohort, less invasive LVAD implantation appears to be associated with reduced postoperative RV failure, and equivalent or improved survival compared to conventional LVAD implantation.