Left Ventricular Unloading by Impella Device Versus Surgical Vent During Extracorporeal Life Support

Sarah Tepper, Muhammad Faraz Masood, Moises Baltazar Garcia, Molly Pisani, Gregory A. Ewald, John M. Lasala, Richard G. Bach, Jasvindar Singh, Keki R. Balsara, Akinobu Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background Patients supported with extracorporeal life support (ECLS) can experience severe complications from increased left ventricular (LV) afterload. The Impella (Abiomed, Danvers, MA) percutaneous ventricular assist device (PVAD) may offer an attractive option for unloading the LV in these patients. This study describes the efficacy and outcomes of PVAD use during ECLS compared with surgically placed LV vent. Methods In this retrospective study, we reviewed patients supported by ECLS with PVAD or surgical LV vent for cardiogenic shock between April 2010 and May 2016. Included were 23 patients with PVADs and 22 with surgical vents. Patients’ baseline characteristics, hemodynamic data, and outcomes were collected immediately preceding combined support initiation, at 48 hours, intensive care unit discharge, and 30 days. Results After 48 hours, pulmonary artery diastolic pressure was significantly reduced in the PVAD (23.3 ± 8.4 vs 15.6 ± 4.2, p = 0.02) and surgical vent groups (20.1 ± 5.9 vs 15.6 ± 5.4, p = 0.01), and radiographic evidence of pulmonary edema was reduced or unchanged in 90% of PVAD patients and in 76% of surgical vent patients. The primary end points of survival to 30 days (43% vs 32%, p = 0.42) and intensive care unit discharge (35% vs 23%, p = 0.37) were not different between the two methods of support. The PVAD and surgical vent groups were also not significantly different in the rate of vascular complications or in the number decannulated from ECLS and transitioned to durable LV assist device. Conclusions PVAD use in ECLS patients is an effective means of LV unloading and preventing worsened pulmonary edema, with outcomes and complications that are comparable to surgical LV vent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017


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