Objectives: This study sought to determine whether severe right ventricular (RV) dysfunction in the pre-operative setting is associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) post-left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Background: GIB is a significant complication in patients supported with continuous-flow LVADs. The impact of RV dysfunction on the risk of GIB has not been investigated. Methods: We retrospectively identified 212 patients who survived index hospitalization after implantation of HeartMate II (Thoratec Corp., Pleasanton, California) or Heartware HVAD (HeartWare Corp., Framingham, Massachusetts) from June 2009 to April 2013. Patients with severe RV dysfunction on pre-LVAD echocardiogram (n = 37) were compared to patients without severe RV dysfunction (n = 175). The primary outcome was freedom from GIB. Results: The majority of patients were male (79%) with a median INTERMACS (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support) profile of 2 at LVAD implantation. There were no significant differences between cohorts with respect to demographics, comorbidities, device type, international normalization ratio, or aspirin strategy. During follow-up, 81 patients had GIB events: 23 of 37 (62%) in the severe RV dysfunction group versus 58 of 175 (33%) in the control group (p = 0.001). After adjustment for age and ischemic cardiomyopathy, severe RV dysfunction was associated with increased risk of GIB (hazard ratio: 1.799, 95% confidence interval: 1.089 to 2.973, p = 0.022). Conclusions: In this single-center sample of patients supported with continuous-flow LVADs, severe RV dysfunction on pre-LVAD echocardiogram was associated with an increased risk of GIB. Further studies are needed to investigate possible mechanisms by which RV dysfunction increases the risk of GIB and to identify patient populations who may benefit from alterations in antithrombotic strategies.
- Gastrointestinal bleed
- Heart failure
- Left ventricular assist device
- Right ventricular dysfunction