A case series analysis of bicarbonate-based purge solution administration via Impella ventricular assist device

Mariah I. Sigala, Jesse E. Harris, Celia Morton, Kevin R. Donahue, Ju H. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The Impella device historically required a heparin-based purge solution to reduce the risk of biomaterial deposition to maintain pump function. In April 2022, the Food and Drug Administration approved utilization of bicarbonate-based purge solutions (BBPS) as an alternative to heparin for patients who are intolerant to heparin or in whom heparin is contraindicated. The purpose of this case series is to report patient outcomes of Impella support with BBPS use at our institution. Summary: Eighteen patients who received BBPS via the Impella CP or Impella 5.5 device were included in our review. Patients were included if they had BBPS administration for greater than 24 hours. All patients were followed for 72 hours after cessation of BBPS. Indications for BBPS were coagulopathy (n = 5, 28%), suspected HIT (n = 2, 11%), confirmed HIT (n = 1, 6%), and major bleeding (n = 10, 56%). Three patients (17%) experienced an Impella complication while on BBPS. One patient required pump exchange, one required removal of the Impella device, and one received alteplase for suspected purge block. Of these, two patients experienced complications greater than 21 days into BBPS therapy. Conclusion: This case series adds to the literature describing clinical outcomes for patients on Impella support with BBPS. While BBPS offers a viable option for the management of patients on Impella devices who are unable to tolerate heparin-based purge solutions, further data is needed to determine the longevity of the Impella device with BBPS to minimize risk of Impella complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E115-E121
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • anticoagulation
  • bicarbonate purge
  • Impella
  • mechanical circulatory support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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