Adverse events in contemporary continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices: A multi-institutional comparison shows significant differences

John M. Stulak, Mary E. Davis, Nicholas Haglund, Shannon Dunlay, Jennifer Cowger, Palak Shah, Francis D. Pagani, Keith D. Aaronson, Simon Maltais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Objectives We review differences in the incidence and timing of adverse events in patients implanted with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), using the Mechanical Circulatory Support Research Network registry. Methods From May 2004 to September 2014, a total of 734 patients (591 men; median age: 59 years) underwent primary continuous-flow LVAD implantation at our institutions. Patients implanted with the HeartMate II (HMII) (560 [76%] patients), compared with the HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD; 174 [24%]) were more often receiving destination therapy (47% vs 20%; P <.01), had a lower preoperative creatinine level (1.2 vs 1.3; P =.01), and had less median preoperative right ventricular dysfunction (mild vs moderate; P <.01). Ischemic etiology, prior sternotomy, and median INTERMACS profile were similar. Results Overall mortality was 54 of 734 (7.4%); 41 of 560 (7.3%) in the HMII group, and 13 of 174 (7.5%) in the HVAD group (P =.95). Follow-up was available in 100% of early survivors for a median of 1 year (max: 10 years) and a total of 1120 patient-years of support (HMII: 940 patient-years [median: 1.1 years, max: 5.3 years] and HVAD: 180 patient-years [median: 0.6 year, max: 10.4 years]). On multivariable analysis, GI bleeding (P =.63), any infection (P =.32), driveline infection (P =.10), and pump thrombus (P =.64) were similar between devices while HeartWare HVAD was associated with higher risk of stroke (HR: 1.8, [1.25, 2.5], P =.003). Conclusions In this pooled analysis, a trend was found for higher incidence of percutaneous driveline infections in patients treated with the HMII; a higher incidence of stroke and time-related cumulative risk of any infection and stroke was found in patients treated with the HVAD, which was independently associated with higher stroke risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • heart failure
  • mechanical circulatory support
  • ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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