Expert Consensus Paper: Lateral Thoracotomy for Centrifugal Ventricular Assist Device Implant

Jan D. Schmitto, Silvia Mariani, Travis O. Abicht, Gregory S. Couper, Matthew R. Danter, Akinobu Itoh, Zain Khalpey, Zachary N. Kon, Simon Maltais, Nahush A. Mokadam, Duc Thinh Pham, Aron Frederik Popov, Diyar Saeed, André R. Simon, Daniel Zimpfer, Martin Strueber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The increasing prevalence of heart failure has led to the expanded use of left ventricle assist devices (VADs) for end-stage heart failure patients worldwide. Technological improvements witnessed the development of miniaturized VADs and their implantation through less traumatic non-full sternotomy approaches using a lateral thoracotomy (LT). Although adoption of the LT approach is steadily growing, a lack of consensus remains regarding patient selection, details of the surgical technique, and perioperative management. Furthermore, the current literature does not offer prospective randomized studies or evidence-based guidelines for LT-VAD implantation. Methods: A worldwide group of LT-VAD experts was convened to discuss these key topics openly. After a PubMed search and review with all authors, a consensus was reached and an expert consensus paper on LT-VAD implantation was developed. Results: This document aims to guide clinicians in the selection of patients suitable for LT approaches and preoperative optimization. Details of operative techniques are described, with an overview of hemisternotomy and bilateral thoracotomy approaches. A review of the best surgical practices for placement of the pump, inflow cannula, and outflow graft provides advice on the best surgical strategies to avoid device malpositioning while optimizing VAD function. Experts’ opinions on cardiopulmonary bypass, postoperative management, and approaches for pump exchange and explant are presented. This review also emphasizes the critical need for multidisciplinary teams and specific training. Conclusions: This expert consensus review provides a compact guide to LT for VAD implantation, from patient selection through intraoperative tips and postoperative management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1687-1697
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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