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Transplant Proc. 2004 Oct;36(8):2377-9.

Heart transplantation in the patient under ventricular assist complicated with device-related infection.

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Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Ventricular assist devices (VAD) have benefited patients with end-stage heart failure as a bridge to heart transplantation (HTx). We present our experience of HTx in the presence of device-related infection (DRI) including driveline exit site with pocket infections. From May 1996 to April 2003, mechanical circulatory support with the HeartMate VAD was performed in eight patients, and with the Thoratec VAD in seven patients. Although 151 patients underwent HTx during that period, only 8 of the 15 patients had suitable donors and underwent orthotopic HTx. Six of the eight patients developed DRI. Their ages ranged from 18 to 59 years (mean = 36 +/- 14 years). The duration of VAD support ranged from 8 to 287 days (mean = 125 +/- 117 days). The general condition and cardiac function improved gradually under VAD support. At the time of HTx, all six male patients were suffering from DRI. The causative microorganisms were Acinetobacter baumannii (n = 3) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (n = 2), and Enterococcus faecium (n = 1). All patients underwent successful HTx, and were discharged in good condition. It is concluded that under the coverage of appropriate antibiotics, HTx can be successfully performed for the patients for VAD support with DRI. It is important to prevent the spread of infection during HTx. Adequate debridement and drainage of the infected materials prevents postoperative wound infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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