Background Stroke is a significant complication in patients supported with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVAD) and hypertension is a significant risk factor for stroke, but the association between blood pressure and stroke in LVAD patients is not well characterized. Methods We identified 275 consecutive patients who survived implant hospitalization between January 2005 and April 2013. Patients were grouped according to systolic blood pressure (SBP) as above a median and below a median of 100 mm Hg by their averaged systolic blood pressure during the 48 hours before discharge from implantation hospitalization. The groups were compared for the primary outcome of time to stroke. Results The above-median SBP group had mean SBP of 110 mm Hg and the below-median SBP group had mean SBP of 95 mm Hg. There were no significant between-group differences in body mass index, smoking, vascular disease, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, or prior stroke. During a mean follow-up of 16 months, stroke occurred in 16% of the above-median SBP group vs in 7% of the below-median SBP group (hazard ratio, 2.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-5.11), with a similar proportion of hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes in each group. In Cox proportional hazard models adjusting for age, diabetes, or prior stroke, the hazard ratio remained statistically significant. SBP as a continuous variable predictor of stroke had an area under the curve of 0.64 in a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Conclusions In this large, CF-LVAD cohort, elevated SBP was independently associated with a greater risk of subsequent stroke. These results identify management of hypertension as a potential modifiable risk factor for reducing the incidence of stroke in patients supported by CF-LVAD.
- KeyWords continuous flow left ventricular assist device systolic blood pressure hypertension stroke