Background: Continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) support is a mainstay in the hemodynamic management of patients with end-stage heart failure refractory to optimal medical therapy. In this report we evaluated waitlist complications and competing outcomes for CF-LVAD patients compared with primary transplant candidates listed for orthotopic heart transplantation at a single center. Methods: All patients listed for orthotopic heart transplantation between 2006 and 2020 at our institution were retrospectively reviewed (CF-LVAD, 300; primary transplant, 244). Kaplan-Meier methodology with log-rank testing was used to evaluate survival outcomes. Terminal outcomes of death, delisting, and transplant were assessed as competing risks and compared between groups using Gray's test. Multivariable Fine-Gray regression was used to identify predictors of transplantation. Results: One-year rates of transplant, delisting, and death were 48%, 8%, and 2%, respectively, for CF-LVAD patients and 45%, 15%, and 9%, respectively, for primary transplant (all P < .001). Waitlist mortality at 5 years was 4% among CF-LVAD patients and 13% for primary transplants. All-cause mortality after listing was lower for CF-LVAD patients (P = .017). There was no difference in posttransplant survival between groups (P = .250). On multivariable Fine-Gray regression stroke (P = .017), respiratory failure (P = .032), right ventricular failure (P = .019), and driveline infection (P = .050) were associated with decreased probability of transplantation. Posttransplant survival was not significantly worse for CF-LVAD patients who experienced device-related complications (P = .901). Conclusions: Although device-related complications were significantly associated with decreased rates of transplant, CF-LVAD patients had excellent waitlist outcomes overall. In light of the 2018 allocation score change the risk of complications should be taken into account when deciding whether to offer CF-LVAD as a bridge to transplant.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
StatePublished - Oct 2022


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