Emergent reconnection of a transected left ventricular assist device driveline

Efrain Israel Cubillo, Ricardo A. Weis, Harish Ramakrishna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Recent clinical advances with new mechanical circulatory systems have led to additional strategies in the treatment of end-stage heart failure. The third-generation HeartWare Left Ventricular Device (LVAD) System utilizes a blood pump and a driveline (cable) that exits the patient's skin connecting the implanted pump to an externally worn controller. We report a rare case of a HeartWare LVAD driveline rewiring after accidental (presumed) transection of the driveline system. Case Report A 67-year-old male with a medical history of ischemic cardiomyopathy status post HeartWare LVAD implantation presented to the emergency department (ED) after acute LVAD failure. On the morning of presentation, he attempted to cut the paper tape off of his adult diaper with scissors and accidentally (presumed) and unwitnessed severed the driveline system. The patient immediately went into cardiac arrest and was transported to a regional medical center. On arrival, he exhibited no appreciable vital signs and was subsequently intubated, vascular access was placed, and inotropic support initiated. The emergency physician individually stripped and reconnected the color-coded driveline wires using multiple hemostats, electrical tape, and cardboard, which resulted in regeneration of positive LVAD flows. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This? VAD patients will present in extremis typically to the ED with manifestations of pump dysfunction ranging from diminished flows needing fluid management or pump adjustments to full pump failure manifesting as cardiogenic shock, needing rapid resuscitation and transfer to a cardiothoracic surgical unit with on-site VAD-perfusion specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • HeartWare
  • driveline rewiring
  • driveline transection
  • left ventricular assist device
  • mechanical circulatory systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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