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Am Heart J. 2012 Sep;164(3):373-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.06.018.

Epidemiology, management, and outcomes of sustained ventricular arrhythmias after continuous-flow left ventricular assist device implantation.

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University of North Carolina Center for Heart and Vascular Care, Division of Cardiology, Chapel Hill, USA.



Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are pivotal treatment options for patients with end-stage heart failure. Despite robust left ventricular unloading, the right ventricle remains unsupported and susceptible to hemodynamic perturbations from ventricular arrhythmias (VAs). Little is known about the epidemiology, management, resource use, and outcomes of sustained VAs in continuous-flow LVAD patients.


We reviewed data from all consecutive patients receiving a continuous-flow LVAD at the University of North Carolina from January 2006 to February 2011. Patient demographics, pharmacotherapies, resource use, and outcomes were recorded. Descriptive statistics were generated, and multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the independent association of clinical variables on the development of postimplantation VAs.


Of 61 patients, 26 (43%) had sustained VAs after LVAD. Most were male (65%), had history of hypertension (65%), and had nonischemic cardiomyopathy (62%). Patients with VAs after LVAD more often had preimplant VAs (62% vs 14%, P < .01), prior implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (92% vs 71%, P = .04), and history of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator discharge (38% vs 11%, P < .01). Although length of stay was similar, those with postimplant VAs had greater rehospitalization rates, greater antiarrhythmic drug use, and frequently required external defibrillation. Using multivariable logistic regression, only history of prior VA was associated with postimplant arrhythmias (odds ratio 13.7, P < .001).


Ventricular arrhythmias in LVAD patients are common, often refractory to conservative therapy, and associated with frequent rehospitalization. Post-LVAD VAs, however, did not significantly impact survival or transplantation rates. Arrhythmia burden should be considered before LVAD placement, and future study should focus on the impact of VAs on quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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