Objective: Pulsatile left ventricular assist devices have been shown to effectively reduce pulmonary hypertension in patients with end-stage heart failure. However, it remains to be seen whether newer continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices have a similar effect on pulmonary hypertension. The objective of this study was to determine whether the HeartMate II (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, Calif), a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device, is effective in improving pulmonary hemodynamics in the period after left ventricular assist device support and posttransplant. Methods: Fifty patients with end-stage heart failure underwent HeartMate II left ventricular assist device placement as a bridge to transplant. We evaluated their pulmonary hemodynamics with right-sided heart catheterization at baseline, after left ventricular assist device placement, and after heart transplant. Results: The mean age of patients was 53.7 ± 13.5 years. Ischemic etiology was present in 60% of the patients. After left ventricular assist device placement (mean duration, 135 ± 60 days), mean systolic and diastolic pulmonary artery pressures decreased significantly from a baseline of 55.2 ± 13.4 mm Hg and 27.3 ± 6.8 mm Hg, respectively, to 35.9 ± 10.8 mm Hg and 15.8 ± 6.5 mm Hg, respectively (P < .001). Similarly, mean pulmonary vascular resistance decreased significantly from a baseline of 3.6 ± 1.9 Woods units to 2.1 ± 0.8 Woods units (P < .001). Posttransplant pulmonary hemodynamics also remained within normal limits, even in patients with previously severe pulmonary hypertension. Conclusion: Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices effectively improve pulmonary hemodynamics associated with end-stage heart failure. Moreover, pulmonary hemodynamics remain within normal limits in the posttransplant period, even in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension. Therefore, adequate left ventricular decompression achieved with newer left ventricular assist devices can reverse significant pulmonary hypertension in patients with end-stage heart failure, making them eligible for cardiac transplantation.
- bridge to transplant
- diastolic pulmonary artery pressure
- left ventricular assist device
- pulmonary hypertension
- pulmonary vascular resistance
- systolic pulmonary artery pressure
- transpulmonary gradient