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Eur J Heart Fail. 2007 May;9(5):525-30. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

The feasibility of left ventricular mechanical support as a bridge to cardiac recovery.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, S-413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden.



To study the achievability of device weaning in patients receiving left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) as a bridge to transplantation.


Eighteen consecutive patients receiving a LVAD between September 1997 and June 2002 were included in the study. During a four-month follow-up, patients were repeatedly evaluated with right heart catheterization and echocardiography and, if functional improvement was observed, studied with the device turned off. Cardiac recovery was defined as off-pump LVEF>or=40% together with a significant improvement in invasive haemodynamic measurements (CI>or=2.5 and PCWP<or=10-12 mm Hg). Patients fulfilling these criteria were considered for weaning.


Three patients fulfilled the predefined criteria for cardiac recovery and were subjected to device explantation. In one patient, a young female with acute myocarditis, the following course was uneventful. In the second patient, a male with dilated cardiomyopathy, heart failure reoccurred only a few days later. The third patient had a relapse of giant cell myocarditis and was transplanted. One patient underwent transplantation before follow-up evaluation could be performed.


In our experience, patients with severe advanced heart failure are unlikely to show significant cardiac recovery following treatment with LVAD, in contrast to previous suggestions.

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