Methods of acute postcardiotomy left ventricular assistance

Michael J. Reardon, L. D. Conklin, G. V. Letsou, H. J. Safi, R. Espada, J. C. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective. Despite many technological advances in cardiovascular surgery, some patients still experience postcardiotomy left ventricular (LV) failure that is refractory to both inotropic support and intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) placement. The primary author (MJR) recently changed from inflow cannulation at the right superior pulmonary vein/left atrial junction to inflow cannulation at the dome of the left atrium. The purpose of this study was to compare data collected during placement of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) at the junction of the right superior pulmonary vein with positioning the device in the dome of the left atrium. Experimental design, setting, and participants: the medical records of all patients undergoing cardiac surgery by one author (MJR) between 1994 and 1997 were retrospectively reviewed, and 4 patients requiring LVAD placement for short term postcardiotomy support were identified. Each patient's chart was reviewed for duration of LVAD support, average LVAD blood flows, pulmonary capillary wedge pressures (PCWP), preoperative characteristics, postoperative complications, and final outcome for the patients. Results. Accessing the left atrium through the dome resulted in excellent blood flow through the LVAD and allowed for good LV decompression. Hemostasis remained the most common complication regardless of the technique employed; however, the enhanced visibility provided by accessing the left atrium via the dome made repairs less technically difficult. Three patients (75%) were able to be weaned from the LVAD and were discharged from the hospital to home. Two of these patients were cannulated via the left atrial dome making removal of the LVAD easier, thus exposing the patients to less additional operative time. One patient could not be weaned from LVAD support secondary to development of right ventricular failure requiring RVAD insertion and subsequent development of multiple organ failure syndrome. Conclusions. Patients requiring LV assistance following cardiopulmonary bypass surgery traditionally have high levels of morbidity and mortality. In spite of the complications associated with the placement of an assist device, we remain encouraged by the excellent LV decompression and systemic flows we achieved following implantation of the LVAD through the dome of the left atrium. The superior ease of implantation and decannulation provided better operative care and postoperative management for our patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-631
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999


  • Cardiac surgical procedures adverse effects
  • Heart assist devices
  • Ventricular dysfunction, left therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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