Suction due to left ventricular assist: implications for device control and management.

Department of Biophysics, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht/Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Artificial Organs (Impact Factor: 1.87). 08/2007; 31(7):542-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1594.2007.00420.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) overpumping is associated with hemolysis, thrombus release, and tissue damage at the pump inlet. However, the impact of LVAD suction on pulmonary circulatory function remains unknown. We investigated LVAD suction as induced by pulmonary artery banding and overpumping in experimental animals and in a computer model. In six sheep, a rotary LVAD was implanted. Before inducing suction, partial support (40-60% of cardiac output) was established and characterized by measuring pressures and flows. In the animals, pulmonary artery occlusion (PAOC) elicited LVAD suction (left ventricular pressure was from -10 to -20 mm Hg) within 5-10 heartbeats. During suction, aortic pressure dropped to 50% and LVAD flow decreased significantly. After releasing the occlusion (20 s), the collapsed state persisted for another 20 s. A similar trend was obtained by simulating PAOC in the computer model. Additional simulations showed that pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), volume status, and right ventricular (RV) contractility are exponentially related to the persistence of collapse after a suction event. Even modest increases in predisposing factors (elevated PVR, RV dysfunction, hypovolemia) caused sustained hemodynamic collapse lasting in excess of 15 min. Both in selected animals and the computer model, comparable suction-induced collapse was obtained by increasing LVAD speed by about 33%. Attempted compensation by simply decreasing speed was not effective, but temporarily shutting down the LVAD caused rapid reversal of collapse. In conclusion, rotary LVAD suction causes unfavorable conditions for effective unloading. The use of pump interventions appears a promising tool to detect suction and to avoid the associated hemodynamic depression.

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