Objectives. Our recent experience with outpatient left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support is presented to demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of long-term outpatient mechanical circulatory assistance. Background. The experience with inpatient LVAD support as a bridge to transplantation has proved the efficacy of such therapy in improving circulatory hemodynamic status, restoring normal end-organ function and facilitating patient rehabilitation. With miniaturization of the power supplies and controllers, such mechanical circulatory support can now be accomplished in an outpatient setting. Methods. Between March 1993 and February 1997, 32 patients (26 male, 6 female, mean [ ± SEM] age 49 ± 15 years) underwent implantation of the ThermoCardiosystems (TCI) Heartmate vented electric (VE) LVAD. The VE LVAD is powered by batteries worn on shoulder holsters and is operated by a belt-mounted system controller, allowing unrestricted patient ambulation and hospital discharge. Results. Mean duration of support was 122 ± 26 days (range 3 to 605), with a survival rate to transplantation or explantation of 78%. Nineteen patients were discharged from the hospital on mean postoperative day 41 ± 4 (range 17 to 68), for an outpatient support time of 108 ± 30 days (range 2 to 466). Four patients underwent early transplantation and could not participate in the discharge program, and three patients currently await discharge. The complication rate was not statistically different from that encountered in our previous 52 patients with a pneumatic LVAD. Conclusions. Outpatient LVAD support is safe and provides improved quality of life for patients awaiting transplantation. Wearable and totally implantable LVADs should be studied as permanent treatment options for patients who are not candidates for heart transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine