Avoidance of the clinical syndrome of acute right-sided heart failure after heart transplantation is, unfortunately, not possible. Clinical experience and the literature certainly suggest that a significant factor in the successful management of right ventricular (RV) failure is recipient selection. Moreover, threshold hemodynamic values beyond which RV failure is certain to occur and heart transplantation is contraindicated do not exist. Nor are there values below which RV failure is always avoidable. Acute RV failure will remain a difficult and ever-present clinical syndrome in the transplant recipient. Goals in the treatment of this clinical problem include: 1. Preserving coronary perfusion through maintenance of systemic blood pressure. 2. Optimizing RV preload. 3. Reducing RV afterload by decreasing pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). 4. Limiting pulmonary vasoconstriction through ventilation with high inspired oxygen concentrations (100% Fio2), increased tidal volume and optimal positive end expiratory pressure ventilation. Inhaled nitric oxide is recommended before leaving the operating room in cases where the initial therapies have had little impact. Intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation is employed in patients with impaired left ventricular (LV) function and may be of benefit in patients with RV dysfunction resulting from ischemia, preservation injury or reperfusion injury. Optimal LV function reduces RV afterload and PVR. A proactive decision regarding RV assist device implantation is made before leaving the operating room and is highly dependent upon overall hemodynamics, size and function of the ventricles as seen on transesophageal echocardiography, renal function and surgical bleeding. Only through careful preoperative planning can this life-threatening condition be managed in the postoperative period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine