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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 14;12(8):e0183193. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183193. eCollection 2017.

Acquired von Willebrand syndrome in cardiogenic shock patients on mechanical circulatory microaxial pump support.

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Hannover Medical School, Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Cardiac Arrest Center and Advanced Heart Failure Unit, Hannover, Germany.


Early use of mechanical circulatory support, e.g. veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) or left ventricular unloading by microaxial pump in refractory cardiogenic shock is recommended in current guidelines. Development of acquired von Willebrand Syndrome (AVWS) in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and ECMO has been reported. There is an increasing number of patients treated with the Impella® CP microaxial pump for left ventricular unloading. However, the prevalence of AVWS in these high risk patients is unknown and needs to be determined. We therefore screened 21 patients (68 ± 11years) treated with Impella® (17 for cardiogenic shock, 4 for protected PCI) for the presence of AVWS by determining von Willebrand factor multimers, VWF collagen binding capacity and VWF antigen. During the time course of Impella® support, 20/21 patients (95%) developed AVWS (mean duration of support: 135 ± 114 hours, mean time from device implantation to first diagnosis of AVWS: 10.6 ± 10.8 hours). Our data indicate that AVWS is a common phenomenon during left ventricular unloading via microaxial pump support. Thus, AVWS has to be considered as contributing factor for potential bleeding complications in this high risk patient population, especially in the context of dual antiplatelet therapy.

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