Intracranial Hemorrhage in Patients with Durable Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices: Institutional Review and Proposed Treatment Algorithm

Wyatt L. Ramey, Robyn L. Basken, Christina M. Walter, Zain Khalpey, G. Michael Lemole, Travis M. Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background Spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is frequently managed in neurosurgery. Patients with durable mechanical circulatory support devices, including total artificial heart (TAH) and left ventricular assist device (LVAD), are often encountered in the setting of ICH. Although durable mechanical circulatory support devices have improved survival and quality of life for patients with advanced heart failure, ICH is one of the most feared complications following LVAD and TAH implantation. Owing to anticoagulation and clinically relevant acquired coagulopathies, ICH should be treated promptly by neurosurgeons and cardiac critical care providers. We provide an analysis of ICH in patients with mechanical circulatory support and propose a treatment algorithm. Methods We retrospectively reviewed medical records from 2013–2016 for patients with a durable mechanical circulatory device at Banner–University of Arizona Medical Center Tucson. All patients with suspected ICH underwent computed tomography scan of the brain. Anticoagulation was managed by the cardiothoracic surgeon. Results In 58 patients, an LVAD (n = 49), TAH (n = 10), or both (n = 1) were implanted. Both acquired von Willebrand disease and spontaneous ICH were diagnosed in 5 patients (8.6%) who underwent LVAD implantation. Seven neurosurgical procedures were performed in 2 patients. The overall mortality rate was 60%. Two patients had little or no deficits after treatment with modified Rankin Scale score of 1 and 2, respectively. Conclusions We propose a novel treatment algorithm to manage patients with a LVAD or TAH and ICH, implemented in a multidisciplinary manner to best avoid neurologic and cardiovascular complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-835
Number of pages10
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Coagulopathy
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Intraparenchymal hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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