Heart transplant vs left ventricular assist device in heart transplant-eligible patients

Academic Article


  • Background: Patients listed for heart transplant have a prolonged wait time, with continued deterioration, poor quality of life, and 10% mortality. Although recent bridge to transplant (BTT) studies demonstrated 1-year survival similar to heart transplantation, doubt remains about overall effectiveness as a treatment strategy compared with waiting and implanting a left ventricular device (LVAD) only as a last resort. We evaluated 1-year outcome and effectiveness of LVAD vs heart transplantation. Methods: Patients on the heart transplantation list, either receiving an allograft or LVAD for BTT from January 2009 to December 2009 were evaluated. Of 43 patients treated, 1 received both LVAD and an allograft during same admission was removed from the analysis. All patients but one who received an allograft had prior LVAD. Descriptive and univariate (t test) statistics and Kaplan-Meier survival curve were used for analyses. Results: LVAD for BTT was used in 29 patients (51.4 ± 12.8 years, 6.9% women), and 13 (51.1 ± 11.6 years, 15.38% women) underwent heart transplantation. Initial hospital length of stay was 17.5 ± 14.4 days in BTT group and 14.3 ± 4.6 days in heart transplant group (p = 0.44) At 1 year, the total number of days spent in the hospital (operation and related complications), including index hospitalization was 11.6 ± 14.3 days/100 days in BTT and 7.9 ± 9.0 days/100 days in heart transplantation (p = 0.38). A total of 41% BTT and 46% heart transplant patients had one readmission within 3 months of the index hospitalization. Infection was the most common cause of readmission in both groups. The 1-year survival was similar for both groups (no hospital death in either group; 3 late deaths in the BTT group). Conclusions: One-year outcomes for patients eligible for heart transplantation were similar whether they received an allograft or LVAD for BTT. Heart transplant outcome for patients with LVAD were not adversely affected. Improving outcomes for patients treated with LVAD suggest that current decision models for patients eligible for heart transplantation may need to be reevaluated. © 2011 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williams ML; Trivedi JR; McCants KC; Prabhu SD; Birks EJ; Oliver L; Slaughter MS
  • Start Page

  • 1330
  • End Page

  • 1334
  • Volume

  • 91
  • Issue

  • 5