Postcardiotomy cardiogenic shock (PCCS) results in substantial morbidity and mortality. Despite intraaortic balloon pump and inotropic support, some patients with PCCS continue to have a refractory low cardiac output. For these patients, more effective ventricular assistance is imperative to prevent death. Multiple systems are available for the short-term support of patients with PCCS. Regardless of the device employed, only 25% of these patients survive and are discharged home. Two strategies, however, may improve the outcome of PCCS. One is long-term support by an implantable assist device, which can allow optimal ventricular unloading. Unfortunately, not all cardiac surgery centers offer this type of support. Therefore, the other strategy is the creation of postcardiotomy referral centers that offer long-term support or heart transplantation. Such centers would conserve scarce donor organs, maximize the chance of myocardial recovery, and yield expertise applicable not only to device recipients but also to critically ill heart-failure patients who do not need an implantable pump.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine