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Ann Thorac Surg. 1993 Jan;55(1):65-71; discussion 71.

Improved multiorgan function after prolonged univentricular support.

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Transplant Service, Texas Heart Institute/St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston 77225-0345.


Eleven cardiac transplant candidates (all male; mean age, 43.3 years) with multiorgan (hepatic, pulmonary, and/or renal) dysfunction were sustained for prolonged periods (> 30 days) with the HeartMate (Thermo Cardiosystems, Inc, Woburn, MA) left ventricular assist device. We evaluated the effect of extended support on end-organ recovery and on the ultimate outcome of cardiac transplantation. In addition to cardiac failure, 9 patients had hepatic dysfunction, 8 had pulmonary dysfunction, and 6 had renal dysfunction (4 of whom required hemodialysis before left ventricular assist device support). Mean duration of support was 115 days (range, 31 to 233 days). All patients underwent successful transplantation; 10 of these patients survived a mean of 24 months. One patient, who had required hemodialysis and ventilatory support during and after support, experienced progressive multiorgan failure and died 7 weeks after transplantation. Two late deaths after transplantation were unrelated to the device. Overall, patients experienced improvement in cardiac functional class status, and most participated in cardiac rehabilitation programs before transplantation. During left ventricular assist device support, hepatic function returned to normal in 8 patients, pulmonary function recovered in 7, and renal function returned to normal in 4. One patient who required hemodialysis underwent renal transplantation after cardiac transplantation and had complete recovery of renal function. In the current era of donor shortages, gravely ill patients can benefit from a strategy of prolonged left ventricular assist device support. This strategy has proved safe, has allowed for reversal of multiorgan dysfunction, and has produced healthier transplant candidates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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