Should Patients 60 Years and Older Undergo Bridge to Transplantation With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices?

Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
The Annals of thoracic surgery (Impact Factor: 3.65). 08/2012; 94(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.06.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Although left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are now commonly used as a bridge to orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT), the upper patient age limit for this therapy has not been defined. Smaller studies have suggested that advanced age should not be a contraindication to bridge to transplantation (BTT) LVAD placement. The purpose of this study was to examine outcomes in patients 60 years and older undergoing BTT with continuous-flow LVADs. METHODS: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database was reviewed to identify first-time OHT recipients 60 years of age and older (2005-2010). Patients were stratified by preoperative support: continuous-flow LVAD, intravenous inotropic agents, and direct transplantation. Survival after OHT was modeled using the Kaplan-Meier method. All-cause mortality was examined using multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression. RESULTS: Of 2,554 patients, 1,142 (44.7%) underwent direct transplantation, 264 (10.3%) had LVAD BTT, and 1,148 (45.0%) had BTT with inotropic agents. The mean age was 64 ± 3 years, and 460 (18.0%) patients were women. Mean follow-up was 29 ± 19 months. Survival differed significantly among the 3 groups. Patients with LVAD BTT had significantly lower survival after OHT compared with the other groups at 30 days and 1 year. This survival difference was no longer significant at 2 years after OHT or when deaths in the first 30 days were censored. LVAD BTT increased the hazard of death at 1 year by 50% (hazard ratio [HR], 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-2.15; p = 0.03), compared with patients who underwent direct transplantation. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents the largest modern cohort in which survival after OHT has been evaluated in patients 60 years or older who received BTT. Older patients have lower short-term survival after OHT when BTT is carried out with a continuous-flow LVAD compared with inotropic agents or direct transplantation.

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