Radiologic anatomy of ventricular assist devices

Friedrich D. Knollmann, M. Loebe, Y. Weng, S. Spiegelsberger, R. Halfmann, F. Kaufmann, J. Müller, N. Hosten, R. Hetzer, R. Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ventricular assist devices (VAD) allow for long-term circulatory support of patients with end-stage heart failure. With the increasing duration of circulatory support, diagnostic imaging plays an important role in the management of patients on a VAD. The aim of our review was to analyze the radiologic features of different VADs. From 1987 to 1996, 319 patients (mean age 42 years, range 3 to 74 years) were treated with a VAD. A Berlin Heart VAD was implanted in 263 of the patients, the univentricular Baxtor Novacor was implanted in three patients, and the univentricular CI Heartmate was implanted in 19 patients. All patients were studied by serial chest radiographs. In addition, 70 patients underwent computed tomography (CT), and five patients underwent electron beam CT. The Berlin Heart VAD was used as a biventricular support system in 218 patients. In all cases, the position of the wire-directed cannulae was identified on the chest radiographs, while the exact position of the cannula tip could be visualized by CT only. The plastic cannulae of both the Novacor and the Heartmate were not discernible on radiographs, but required CT for evaluation. Computed tomography also resolved the metal components of the pumps. The titanium-made pump housing of the Heartmate caused beam-hardening artefacts that might conceal fluid accumulations in the pump pocket. Computed tomography is the standard of reference for examinations of cannula position, pump position, and pump components of ventricular assist devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic Imaging
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Circulatory support
  • Computed tomography
  • Electron beam CT
  • Heart failure
  • Ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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