Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery vol:120 issue:2 pages:393-400
OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify the indications of mechanical support in postcardiotomy left ventricular failure in patients who are unable to undergo transplantation. METHODS: From 1989 through 1997, 61 patients with postcardiotomy left ventricular failure beyond intra-aortic balloon pumping were assisted with the Hemopump cardiac assist system (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minn). Their mean age was 64 +/- 8 years. Comorbidity was prevalent; 47% underwent cardiac massage before pump support, and evolving myocardial infarction was diagnosed in 43% before surgery. Multivariable logistic regression of data known at the moment of pump insertion was performed to identify the risk factors for mortality. RESULTS: Sixty-five percent of the patients were weaned from the device, but only 30% were discharged home. Cardiac index evolution during the first hours after pump insertion (P <.001) is the only independent predictor for possibility to wean from the device in the multivariable analysis. Acute renal failure is the only variable retained in the model for 90-day mortality. Device-related complications were far more frequent with the femoral (54%) than with the transthoracic (6%) cannula. Only 13% of the patients had bleeding complications. CONCLUSIONS: One third of the patients with postcardiotomy heart failure refractory to use of the intra-aortic balloon pump can be saved with the use of an endovascular axial flow pump. It is impossible to predict lethal outcome on preoperative data alone. The early hemodynamic response to support seems to be related to functional recovery of the heart and subsequent weaning from the device.