Background: Cerebrovascular events (CVE) are among the most common and serious complications after implantation of continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVAD). We studied the incidence, subtypes, anatomical distribution, and pre- and post-implantation risk factors of CVEs as well as the effect of CVEs on outcomes after CF-LVAD implantation at our institution. Methods: Retrospective analysis of clinical and neuroimaging data of 372 patients with CF-LVAD between May 2005 and December 2013 using standard statistical methods. Results: CVEs occurred in 71 patients (19%), consisting of 35 ischemic (49%), 26 hemorrhagic (37%), and 10 ischemic+hemorrhagic (14%) events. History of coronary artery disease and female gender was associated with higher odds of ischemic CVE (OR 2.84 and 2.5, respectively), and diabetes mellitus was associated with higher odds of hemorrhagic CVE (OR 3.12). While we found a higher rate of ischemic CVEs in patients not taking any antithrombotic medications, no difference was found between patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic CVEs. Occurrence of CVEs was associated with increased mortality (HR 1.62). Heart transplantation was associated with improved survival (HR 0.02). In patients without heart transplantation, occurrence of CVE was associated with decreased survival. Conclusions: LVADs are associated with high rates of CVE, increased mortality, and lower rates of heart transplantation. Further investigations to identify the optimal primary and secondary stroke prevention measures in post-LVAD patients are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Cardiac transplant
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Stroke


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