Determinants of improvement in cardiopulmonary exercise testing after left ventricular assist device implantation

Andrew N. Rosenbaum, Shannon M. Dunlay, Naveen L. Pereira, Thomas G. Allison, Simon Maltais, John M. Stulak, Lyle D. Joyce, Sudhir S. Kushwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although improvement in cardiac output and hemodynamic parameters is routinely demonstrated in patients implanted with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs), improvement in exercise capacity is inconsistently seen. Our purpose was to determine whether native cardiac factors, LVAD factors, or comorbid factors were associated with lack of improvement. Review of all patients undergoing preimplant cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and CPET on LVAD therapy at one institution was performed between 2007 and 2014 (n = 49). Comprehensive assessment of echocardiographic parameters, right heart catheterization data, medications, and comorbid illness was undertaken. There was no mean improvement in peak oxygen consumption (VO 2 ; 11.8–12.4 ml/kg/min; p = 0.26), although exercise time (5.1 [46% predicted] to 5.8 min [56% predicted]; p = 0.02) and nadir of the ratio of minute ventilation to carbon dioxide production slope (VE/VCO2; 39–36; p = 0.001) improved. Factors most strongly associated with improvement in VO 2 were Heartmate II pulsatility index (PI; R = 0.48; p = 0.001), power (R = −0.40; p = 0.009), pump flow (R = −0.40; p = 0.008), and pump speed (R = −0.32; p = 0.04). Peak heart rate (HR) was also associated with improvement in VO 2 (R = 0.41; p = 0.004). Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF; R = 0.004; p = 0.77), right ventricular (RV) function (R = 0.22; p = 0.28), and aortic valve opening (R = 0.20; p = 0.57) were not associated with improvement in VO 2 . Our data suggest that less reliance on LVAD support was modestly associated with improvement in exercise capacity. Further studies should seek to determine the optimal level of device support prospectively in relation to exercise capacity. ASAIO Journal 2018; 64:610–615.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-615
Number of pages6
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018


  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • LVAD support
  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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