End-stage heart failure with multiple intracardiac thrombi: A rescue strategy

Maximillian G. Posch, Larry O. Thompson, Michael M. Koerner, Mehmet H. Akay, George P. Noon, Matthias Loebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The use of ventricular assist devices as a bridge to transplantation has become a widely used option for patients with end-stage heart failure. In contrast to total artificial hearts, ventricular assist devices support the failing heart by bypassing one or both ventricles. In certain cases (myocardial tumors, graft failure, transplant rejection, endocarditis, intracardiac thrombus formation), however, it may be advantageous to excise the heart and replace it with an artificial device. Total artificial hearts are intracorporeal devices designed for this purpose. Unfortunately, some patients are too small or are, for other reasons, ineligible for a total artificial heart. We describe the case of a 55-year-old woman who had ischemic cardiomyopathy and thrombus formation in all 4 cardiac chambers. To reduce the risk of thromboembolic events, we elected to replace her heart completely with 2 extracorporeal ventricular assist devices. The heart was excised via a median sternotomy approach, and the outflow cannulae (from device to patient) were connected to both atrial remnants. The 2 inflow cannulae (from patient to device) were anastomosed end-to-end to the aorta and the pulmonary artery, respectively. After attaining a flow of more than 5 L, the 2 extra-corporeal assist devices effectively and efficiently performed the work of the native heart. Thus re-established, organ perfusion was improved by this mechanically driven circulation, as signified by an initial decrease in creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels. The patient, however, did not recover from postoperative neurological dysfunction and died of respiratory insufficiency and multiple-organ failure on the 26th postoperative day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-408
Number of pages5
JournalTexas Heart Institute Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Anastomosis, surgical
  • Heart failure, congestive/surgery
  • Heart-assist devices
  • Human
  • Prosthesis design
  • Thrombosis/surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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