Over the past decade, continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) have become the mainstay of therapy for end stage heart failure. While the number of patients on support is exponentially growing, at present there are no American Heart Association or European Society of Cardiology Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support guidelines for the management of this unique patient population. We propose an algorithm for the hospitalized unresponsive CF-LVAD patient outside of the intensive care unit setting. Key elements of this algorithm are: creation of a dedicated LVAD code pager and LVAD code team; early assessment and correction of LVAD malfunction; early determination of blood flow using Doppler technique in carotid and femoral arteries; prompt administration of external chest compressions in the absence of Doppler flow; bedside veno-arterial extracorporeal membranous oxygenation support if no response to resuscitation measures; and early consideration for stroke.
- Left ventricular assist devices
- advanced cardiovascular life support
- heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas