Performance of noninvasive assessment in the diagnosis of right heart failure after left ventricular assist device

Academic Article


  • Right heart failure (RHF) after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is associated with poor outcomes. Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (Intermacs) defines RHF as elevated right atrial pressure (RAP) plus venous congestion. The purpose of this study was to examine the diagnostic performance of the noninvasive Intermacs criteria using RAP as the gold standard. We analyzed 108 patients with LVAD who underwent 341 right heart catheterizations (RHC) between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2013. Physical exam, echocardiography, and laboratory data at the time of RHC were collected. Conventional two-by-two tables were used and missing data were excluded. The noninvasive Intermacs definition of RHF is 32% sensitive (95% cardiac index (CI), 0.21-0.44) and 97% specific (95% CI, 0.95-0.99) for identifying elevated RAP. Clinical assessment failed to identify two-thirds of LVAD patients with RAP > 16 mm Hg. More than half of patients with elevated RAP did not have venous congestion, which may represent a physiologic opportunity to mitigate the progression of disease before end-organ damage occurs. One-quarter of patients who met the noninvasive definition of RHF did not actually have elevated RAP, potentially exposing patients to unnecessary therapies. In practice, if any component of the Intermacs definition is present or equivocal, our data suggest RHC is warranted to establish the diagnosis.
  • Published In

  • ASAIO Journal  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Joly JM; El-Dabh A; Marshell R; Chatterjee A; Smith MG; Tresler M; Kirklin JK; Acharya D; Rajapreyar IN; Tallaj JA
  • Start Page

  • 449
  • End Page

  • 455
  • Volume

  • 65
  • Issue

  • 5