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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2006 May;25(5):495-8. Epub 2006 Mar 24.

Levitronix as a short-term salvage treatment for primary graft failure after heart transplantation.

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Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, Harefield, Middlesex, UK.



Primary graft failure after heart transplantation is a well-recognized catastrophic complication with a high mortality rate. It is becoming more frequent due to the increasing use of marginal donors. In these difficult cases a ventricular assist device (VAD) as a bridge to recovery or as a bridge to re-transplantation can be used. The recently introduced Levitronix Centrimag centrifugal pump might be an ideal device for this purpose.


In this study we describe 2 patients with primary graft failure who received a Levitronix in the last 2 years, immediately after failure to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass. Biventricular support was necessary in both patients.


One patient was successfully re-transplanted after 2 days of support, and subsequently discharged. After 16 months she has good ventricular function with no symptoms of cardiac failure. The second patient showed signs of ventricular recovery after a few days and was weaned from the device after 7 days, with good graft function. No device-related complications were recorded. After 14 days he was discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU), and a post-operative echocardiogram showed normal dimensions, good ejection fraction and no valvular regurgitation. He was discharged home 26 days after the transplant.


In our experience, the Levitronix Centrimag seems to be safe and effective in the treatment of primary graft failure, achieving effective circulatory support and ventricular off-loading. We propose its use in isolated or biventricular graft failure either as bridge to re-transplant or as a bridge to recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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