Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence, risk factors, and effect on outcomes of right ventricular failure in a large population of patients implanted with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices. Methods: Patients (n = 484) enrolled in the HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (Thoratec, Pleasanton, Calif) bridge-to-transplantation clinical trial were examined for the occurrence of right ventricular failure. Right ventricular failure was defined as requiring a right ventricular assist device, 14 or more days of inotropic support after implantation, and/or inotropic support starting more than 14 days after implantation. Demographics, along with clinical, laboratory, and hemodynamic data, were compared between patients with and without right ventricular failure, and risk factors were identified. Results: Overall, 30 (6%) patients receiving left ventricular assist devices required a right ventricular assist device, 35 (7%) required extended inotropes, and 33 (7%) required late inotropes. A significantly greater percentage of patients without right ventricular failure survived to transplantation, recovery, or ongoing device support at 180 days compared with patients with right ventricular failure (89% vs 71%, P < .001). Multivariate analysis revealed that a central venous pressure/pulmonary capillary wedge pressure ratio of greater than 0.63 (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-4.3; P = .009), need for preoperative ventilator support (odds ratio, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.3-13.2; P < .001), and blood urea nitrogen level of greater than 39 mg/dL (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-4.1; P = .02) were independent predictors of right ventricular failure after left ventricular assist device implantation. Conclusions: The incidence of right ventricular failure in patients with a HeartMate II ventricular assist device is comparable or less than that of patients with pulsatile-flow devices. Its occurrence is associated with worse outcomes than seen in patients without right ventricular failure. Patients at risk for right ventricular failure might benefit from preoperative optimization of right heart function or planned biventricular support. © 2010 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
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