Anesthesia for gastrointestinal endoscopy in patients with left ventricular assist devices: Initial experience with 68 procedures

Basavana G. Goudra, Preet Mohinder Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Aims and Objectives: Continuous flow left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) have emerged as a reliable treatment option for heart failure. Because of bleeding secondary to anticoagulation, these patients present frequently for gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. The presently available literature on perioperative management of these patients is extremely limited and is primarily based upon theoretical principles. Materials and Methods: Perioperative records of patients with LVAD undergoing (GI) endoscopy between 2008 and 2012 were reviewed. Patient, device and procedure specific information was analyzed. Results: A total of 105 LVADs were implanted, and 68 procedures were performed in 39 patients. The most common indication was GI bleed (48/68), with yearly risk of 8.57% per patient. A total of 63 procedures were performed under deep sedation, with five procedures requiring general anesthesia. Intra-procedure hypotension was managed by fluids and (or) vasopressors/inotropes (phenylephrine, ephedrine or milrinone) guided by plethysmographic waveform, non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP) and LVADs pulsatility index (for HeartMate II)/flow pulsatility (for HeartWare). No patient required invasive monitoring and both NIBP and pulse oximeter could be reliably used for monitoring (and guided management) in all patients due to the presence of native heart's pulsatile output. Conclusion: In the presence of residual heart function, with optimal device settings, non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring can be reliably used in these patients while undergoing GI endoscopy under general anesthesia or monitored anesthesia care. Transient hypotensive episodes respond well to fluids/vasopressors without the need of increasing device speed that can be detrimental.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-256
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Cardiac Anaesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Anesthesia
  • Continuous flow left ventricular assist devices
  • Monitored anesthesia care
  • Non-cardiac surgery


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