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J Vasc Surg. 2015 Aug;62(2):417-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2015.03.040. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

Incidence and prognosis of vascular complications after percutaneous placement of left ventricular assist device.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich.
Division of Vascular Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich. Electronic address:
Division of Cardiology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich.



Mechanical assist devices have found an increasingly important role in high-risk interventional cardiac procedures. The Impella (Abiomed Inc, Danvers, Mass) is a percutaneous left ventricular assist device inserted through the femoral artery under fluoroscopic guidance and positioned in the left ventricular cavity. This study was undertaken to assess the incidence of vascular complications and associated morbidity and mortality that can occur with Impella placement.


We used a prospective database to review patients who underwent placement of an Impella left ventricular assist device in our tertiary referral center from July 2010 to December 2013. Patient demographics, comorbidities, interventional complications, and 30-day mortality were recorded.


The study included 90 patients (60% male). Mean age was 66 years (range, 17-97 years). Hypertension was found in 69% of the patients, 37% were diabetic, 57% had a history of tobacco abuse, and 65% had chronic renal insufficiency. The median preprocedure cardiac ejection fraction was 30%. Most (87%) had undergone coronary artery intervention. Cardiogenic shock was documented in 67 patients (74%). The Impella was placed for an average of 1 day (range, 0-5 days). At least one vascular complication occurred in 15 patients (17%). Acute limb ischemia occurred in 12 patients; of whom four required an amputation and six required open or endovascular surgery. Other complications included groin hematomas and one pseudoaneurysm. All-patient 30-day mortality was 50%, which was not significantly associated with vascular complications. Female sex and cardiogenic shock at the time of insertion were associated with vascular complications (P = .043 and P = .018, respectfully).


Vascular complications are common with placement of the Impella percutaneous left ventricular assist device (17%) and are related to emergency procedures. Vascular complications in this high-risk patient population frequently lead to withdrawal of care. These data provide quality improvement targets for left ventricular assist device programs.

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