Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF LVADs) are rotary blood pumps that improve mean blood flow, but with potential limitations of non-physiological ventricular volume unloading and diminished vascular pulsatility. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that left ventricular unloading with increasing CF LVAD flow increases myocardial flow normalized to left ventricular work. Healthy (n = 8) and chronic ischemic heart failure (IHF, n = 7) calves were implanted with CF LVADs. Acute hemodynamics and regional myocardial blood flow were measured during baseline (LVAD off, clamped), partial (2–4 L/min) and full (>4 L/min) LVAD support. IHF calves demonstrated greater reduction of cardiac energy demand with increasing LVAD support compared to healthy calves, as calculated by rate-pressure product. Coronary artery flows (p < 0.05) and myocardial blood flow (left ventricle (LV) epicardium and myocardium, p < 0.05) decreased with increasing LVAD support in normal calves. In the IHF model, blood flow to the septum, LV, LV epicardium, and LV myocardium increased significantly with increasing LVAD support when normalized to cardiac energy demand (p < 0.05). In conclusion, myocardial blood flow relative to cardiac demand significantly increased in IHF calves, thereby demonstrating that CF LVAD unloading effectively improves cardiac supply and demand ratio in the setting of ischemic heart failure.
- Cardiac tissue perfusion
- Coronary circulation
- Mechanical circulatory support device
- Rate-pressure product
- Regional blood flow