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Surgery. 2001 Apr;129(4):440-4.

Noncardiac surgery in patients with left ventricular assist devices.

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  • 1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Westfälische Wilhelms University, Albert-Schweitzer-Str 33, 48149 Muenster, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Noncardiac surgery, especially abdominal surgical procedures in patients with long-term mechanical circulatory support and strong anticoagulation, is difficult.

METHODS:

We report on 14 patients (aged 44 +/- 15 years) with a portable Novacor or HeartMate system, who underwent noncardiac surgical procedures while being supported by the device.

RESULTS:

The patients underwent 20 procedures for noncardiac reasons; most had an intestinal operation or cholecystectomy. Half of the procedures were performed within 30 days after placement of the device (mean interval, 53 +/- 57 days), only 6 interventions were necessary after 100 days of mechanical support. Complications occurred in 8 patients (57%), 5 of whom had undergone cholecystectomy and had unacceptably high sanguineous drainage losses.

CONCLUSIONS:

An elective surgical procedure can be performed with an acceptable risk if the operation is carefully managed. Postponing resumption of full anticoagulation is advisable as it may reduce bleeding complications without apparently increasing the risk for thromboembolism. Emergency interventions remain a difficult task.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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