Background: Combining mechanical unloading by a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) and neurohormonal blockade with heart failure medications (HFMED) is an underexplored clinical strategy to promote recovery of cardiac function in patients with advanced heart failure (HF). Methods: We implemented a clinical protocol to achieve maximal neurohormonal blockade after placement of a CF-LVAD and assessed its utility in an LVAD weaning (6,200 rpm) study. Thirty-four subjects were enrolled after CF-LVAD and were managed with aggressive, bi-weekly up-titration of HFMED. Results: Twenty-one subjects (8 with coronary artery disease, 13 with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy) were included in this LVAD weaning investigation. Overall, combined CF-LVAD and HFMED resulted in significant reverse remodeling with a decrease in left atrial volume index (44.7±16.0 to 31.6±12.1 ml/m2, p < 0.001) and LV internal diastolic diameter (6.7±1.5 to 6.0±1.6 cm, p = 0.003) and an increase in LV ejection fraction (17.4±6.5 to 33.1±16.2%, p < 0.001) during LVAD weaning (6,200 rpm). Five of 21 (24%) subjects demonstrated recovery of biventricular function. Exploratory analysis showed that recovered subjects had shorter duration HF, less myocardial fibrosis and less myocyte hypertrophy, and were supported at higher LVAD speeds. Conclusions: CF-LVAD support in combination with HFMED leads to significant reverse remodeling in patients with advanced HF. Using this approach, one quarter of patients demonstrated complete recovery of cardiac function. Our results suggest that bridge to recovery in the current device era is a clinically meaningful phenomenon and merits further investigation.
- left ventricular assist device;recovery;
- pharmacology;heart failure;
- weaning study;neurohormonal blockade
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine