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Circ Heart Fail. 2009 Jan;2(1):3-10. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.108.796128.

Impact of center volume on outcomes of left ventricular assist device implantation as destination therapy: analysis of the Thoratec HeartMate Registry, 1998 to 2005.

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  • 1Cardiovascular and Cardiothoracic Divisions of Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.



More than 400 patients with end-stage heart failure underwent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation of LVAD as destination therapy (DT) after the US Food and Drug Administration approval of DT in 2002. Because most of these patients had surgeries at hospitals that were newly accredited, we sought to examine the impact of LVAD center volume on the outcomes of DT.


From July 1998 through December 2005, a total of 377 patients underwent implantation of HeartMate I LVAD as DT at 68 centers in the United States. Using data from the Thoratec DT Registry, we examined the association between LVAD center volume at the time of surgery and 1-year survival with DT. Of the studied 377 DT recipients, 53% underwent device implantation at centers that performed <or=4 DT implants at the time of surgery. Center experience with DT seemed to significantly correlate with the 1-year survival (47.8% versus 67.4% in recipients of <or=4th DT versus >9th DT implant; P=0.009). However, the DT center volume was not an independent predictor of 1-year survival with DT when adjusted for the preoperative DT Risk Score, suggesting that other factors, such as improved candidate selection, may have accounted for the institutional learning curve.


The institutional experience with DT may have a significant impact on outcomes of this therapy. Better selection of candidates, systemic approach to surgical and postoperative care, as well as the long-term medical management most likely all contribute to these improvements.

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