Background: Diaphragmatic hernias after explantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) at the time of heart transplantation are uncommon, but they can cause morbidity. This study presents midterm to long-term results of diaphragmatic hernia repair in these patients. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on a prospectively collected database of all patients who underwent sequential LVAD explantation and heart transplantation at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) since 1995. All patients who had a diaphragmatic hernia were included in the study. Patients’ demographics, perioperative morbidity, and long-term results were recorded. Results: From January 1995 to June 2018, 712 LVADs were placed, and subsequently 293 hearts were transplanted. The incidence of diaphragmatic hernia after heart transplantation was 7.1% (n = 21), with a median time from transplantation to diagnosis of 23 months (interquartile range [IQR], 9 to 39 months). Four patients did not undergo operative repair, and 1 patient was excluded for insufficient data. Sixteen patients underwent diaphragmatic hernia repair (male, 13; female, 3). Thirteen patients underwent laparoscopic repair with mesh, and 3 patients had open repair. Two patients presented with strangulated hernias requiring laparotomy and bowel resection. Median follow-up time was 53 months (IQR, 12 to 141 months) for the entire cohort. One recurrence was noted (6.2%), in a patient with laparoscopic repair. Conclusions: Diaphragmatic hernia repair after sequential LVAD explantation and orthotopic heart transplantation is feasible and appears to be safe. When this hernia is diagnosed, patients should be referred for surgical evaluation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1-TR002494 .
© 2021 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons