Medical therapy as compared to surgical device exchange for left ventricular assist device thrombosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jessica G.Y. Luc, Vakhtang Tchantchaleishvili, Kevin Phan, Shannon M. Dunlay, Simon Maltais, John M. Stulak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Pump thrombosis is a major adverse event in patients supported on continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVAD). The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the outcomes of various treatment approaches for pump thrombosis, including surgical as compared to medical therapy. Electronic search was performed to identify all studies in the English literature addressing surgical and medical management of pump thrombosis in the modern CF-LVAD era. All identified articles were systematically assessed for inclusion and exclusion criteria. In the meta-analysis, because of significant overlap of the data, reports based on trials, registries, and individual cohort studies were analyzed separately. Forty-three studies were included in the analysis (2 trials, 4 registry reports, and 37 individual cohort studies). 2,281/28,728 (10.6%) patients developed pump thrombosis, of which 44.4% and 55.1% were supported on the HeartWare and HeartMate II, respectively. To avoid overlap in studies and to seek more granular data, pooled individual cohort studies were found to be representative of the entire population, and further in-depth analysis of this category was performed. Of the 610/5,545 (11.8%) patients with pump thrombosis in these individual cohort studies, 225 patients had surgical pump exchange, and 186 were treated medically. Surgical therapy resulted in higher success as compared to medical therapy (81.3% vs. 45.4%; p < 0.001), lower 30 day mortality rate (16.7% vs. 34.5%; p = 0.013) and recurrence rate (11.8% vs. 38.3%; p < 0.001). Meta-regression of all studies demonstrates a possible temporal increase of pump thrombosis rate (p = 0.040). Surgical pump exchange is superior to medical therapy with a higher success rate of pump thrombosis resolution, lower mortality rate, and lower recurrence rate. Randomized controlled prospective studies are needed to compare these clinical approaches and their resultant outcomes to guide decision-making for the management of CF-LVAD thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Pump exchange
  • Pump thrombosis
  • Systematic review
  • Thrombolysis
  • Ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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