As waiting times for transplants have lengthened, long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS) has become more common in patients who present with severe cardiogenic shock leading to multiorgan failure. With these patients, we used the biventricular assist device (BVAD, Berlin Heart). In this report, we will describe our 4 years of experience with 11 patients on a BVAD who were discharged home while awaiting transplantation. The 11 patients underwent BVAD implantation from 1997 to 2000. These were 2 women and 9 men. The mean support time was 382 days (range: 156-567). The indication for BVAD was cardiomyopathy - six dilated, one restrictive and four ischemic. These patients were monitored for infections, thromboembolic events, bleeding complications, and psychological effects during the time they spent at home. Our experience shows that all of the patients could leave hospital following sufficient training for dressings and anticoagulation after recovering completely from secondary organ dysfunction. The mean time period the patients spent at home was 48 days (range: 3 - 182) days. Seven patients (63 %) had to be readmitted to the hospital - due to transitory ischemic attacks in two cases, hemorrhoidal bleeding in one and wound infections in four cases. One patient died of a traumatic accident during sexual activity. The use of a BVAD is feasible for outpatient use as a bridge to transplantation. It ensures the survival of the patient, enables recovery from multiorgan failure and offers an acceptable quality of life.
- Assist device
- Berlin Heart
- Biventricular mechanical circulatory support
- Heart transplantation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine