Anti-coagulation is required in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). We evaluated the feasibility of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) for initiation of anti-coagulation and transitioning to oral anti-coagulation after LVAD implantation.
This single-center study included 78 consecutive patients who underwent either Thoratec HeartMate II LVAD (n = 27) or HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD, n = 51) implantation. The LMWHs enoxaparin (n = 50) and dalteparin (n = 28) were used. LMWH was started within 24 hours post-operatively in 79.5% of patients. No anti-coagulation was given before starting LMWH therapy. LMWH activity was monitored by determination of anti-factor Xa levels in plasma.
The majority of patients (80.7%) had peak anti-Xa activity within the defined range of efficacy of 0.2 to 0.4 IU/ml by the second day of treatment. Mean effective peak anti-Xa activity was 0.28 ± 0.06 IU/ml. Mean duration of anti-coagulation with LMWH was 25.8 ± 18 days. Ischemic strokes were observed in 3 patients (3.8%), with a total of 4 events. Three events occurred while on LMWH, and 1 event occurred during follow-up on oral anti-coagulation. There was 1 fatal stroke. No pump thrombus was observed. Major bleeding was observed in 5 patients (6.4%), with a total of 6 events. Gastrointestinal bleeding was the most common complication (n = 3). There were no fatal bleeding events.
LMWH in the setting of LVAD shows rapid and constant biologic efficacy. Anti-coagulation with LMWH appears feasible after LVAD implantation. These findings support further evaluation of LMWH as an alternative to unfractionated heparin in this patient cohort.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Durable left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have not only enhanced longevity but also conferred sustained improvements in quality of life, symptom control, and functional capacity in patients with medically refractory advanced heart failure. Problems with device-related infection, bleeding, neurologic events, right-sided heart failure, and device malfunction have dominated the clinical care of patients living on mechanical support. Even as adoption of durable LVADs accelerated globally, we began to encounter a growing dilemma of pump malfunction caused by thrombosis. In early 2011, clinicians began to notice a spike in the incidence of pump thrombosis with the HeartMate II (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, CA) LVAD. By 2012, the problem of thrombosis in LVADs began to consume most of the scientific direction as centers and collaborative groups began to dissect this nascent phenomenon. In this perspective, we describe the magnitude and implications of pump thrombosis, discuss secular and management trends in this unique population, attempt to dissect the problem at its root, offer guidance on surveillance and therapeutic principles, and outline issues that deserve our immediate and collaborative attention.
The Journal of heart and lung transplantation: the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation 01/2014; 33(1):1-11. DOI:10.1016/j.healun.2013.12.002 · 6.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have dramatically increased the survival of adults with end-stage systolic heart failure. However, rates of bleeding and thromboembolism remain high.Objectives
We completed a systematic review to evaluate outcomes of adults with LVADs treated with various anticoagulant and antiplatelet strategies.Methods
Databases were searched using the terms “assist device,” “thrombosis,” and “anticoagulant” or “platelet aggregation inhibitor” with appropriate synonyms, device names and manufacturers.Results and Conclusions
Of 977 manuscripts, 24 articles met the inclusion criteria of adults with implanted LVADs where clinical outcomes were defined based on anticoagulant and/or antiplatelet regimen. Most studies reported treatment with unfractionated heparin post-operatively which was transitioned to a vitamin K antagonist (VKA). Goal INR varied between 1.5-3.5. Antiplatelet regimens ranged from no treatment to dual therapy. Definition of major bleeding differed between trials and incidence varied between 0% and 58%. The available evidence could not demonstrate a clear benefit of aspirin compared with VKA therapy alone [stroke RR 1.02 (95% CI 0.49-2.1)]. There was a suggestion that treatment with aspirin and dipyridamole decreased the risk of thromboembolism compared to aspirin [RR 0.50 (0.36-0.68)], but the comparison is limited by differences in demographics, devices, and INR goals among studies. Additionally, most studies did not blind to outcomes thus contributing to an increased risk for bias. Clinical equipoise exists as to the most appropriate antithrombotic therapy in LVAD patients. Randomization between regimens within a prospective trial is needed to define the treatment regimen that minimizes both bleeding and thrombotic complicationsThis article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 04/2015; 13(6). DOI:10.1111/jth.12948 · 5.72 Impact Factor
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