Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy is associated with substantial postimplantation morbidity and mortality, a study has confirmed. Readmissions after LVAD implantation are commonplace and often due to gastrointestinal bleeding, device malfunction and/or heart failure.
It was found that of the 35,580,347 weighted national discharges, 3,500 admissions were for primary LVAD implantation. The mean length of stay for an LVAD implantation was 37.3 days, while in-hospital mortality associated with device implantation was 12.9%.
Equally eye-opening were the factors that were not associated with readmissions, he continued. “We looked at other possible confounders like kidney and liver failure, and they weren’t associated with 30-day readmissions,” Dr. Gupta said. “That came as a bit of a surprise.”
Results such as these help illustrate how much room there is for improvement with LVADs. “I think what it portends is that the technology as it is now has to get better,” Dr. Myers said. “One thing that would really go a long way here is a transcutaneous power supply, which I believe would reduce the infection rate we see with these devices. Because one thing we know is that when these patients get infected, it tends to set off a cascade of bad things, including cerebral bleeds.”