Current guidelines recommend serial right heart catheterization (RHC) to survey pulmonary hypertension in patients awaiting heart transplant. However, the role and impact of this surveillance is unclear in patients with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). We reviewed our surveillance RHC protocol to determine whether useful data were obtained to justify the risks of serial invasive procedures (i.e., excessive bleeding). Between January 2015 and December 2018, 78 patients who received an LVAD as bridge-to-transplant (BTT) were included in this study. Routine RHC surveillance was performed every 6 months. Hemodynamic variables were retrospectively collected and reviewed. In 78 patients, 205 RHCs were analyzed. Median patient age was 54 years (IQR 46-61), and 64 (82%) were male. Thirty-six patients (46%) had pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) ≤ 3 Wood units (WUs), and 42 patients (54%) had PVR > 3 WUs before LVAD. After LVAD implantation, mean PVR decreased by 36% from 3.8 ± 2.1 to 2.4 ± 1.1 WUs (p < 0.001) at 6 months and stabilized below 3 WUs at all post-LVAD time points. Four patients (11%) with pre-LVAD PVR ≤ 3 and 16 patients (38%) with a pre-LVAD PVR > 3 had PVR > 3 at least once during RHC survey. Of the 56 (76%) transplanted patients, six (40%) of 15 patients with a post-LVAD PVR >3 at least once developed moderate-to-severe right ventricular dysfunction. Although PVR significantly decreased after LVAD implant, PVR values fluctuated, particularly for those with pre-LVAD PVR > 3.0 WUs. Routine RHC appears valid for all BTT patients.
- cardiac transplant
- left ventricular assist device
- right heart catheterization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering