Use of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) in the treatment of advanced heart failure has increased significantly in recent years. Renal dysfunction is commonly associated with advanced heart failure and is an indicator of poor outcomes. In this chapter, we review factors that affect the clinical outcomes of LVAD implantation in patients with renal dysfunction, with an eye toward improved patient selection.
Renal dysfunction and the need for hemodialysis prior to LVAD implantation increase mortality after LVAD implantation. Although renal function generally improves during the first 1–3 months after LVAD implantation, it can regress to baseline or stay slightly above pre-implantation value by 1 year. Patients with improved renal function after LVAD implantation had improved survival and transplantation rates. Some factors that predict worsening of renal function and poor outcomes in the immediate post-LVAD period are cardiorenal syndrome type II with ischemic changes and renal fibrosis; long-standing, poorly controlled diabetes or hypertension; and need for hemodialysis or CVVHD after LVAD implantation. Improvement in renal function with optimal medical therapy and intra-aortic balloon pump use prior to LVAD implantation were predictors for post-LVAD renal function improvement.
Renal dysfunction should not be bundled into a single category in patients being evaluated for LVAD implantation because there are reversible causes for renal dysfunction in this population. A thorough work-up of renal failure will help to prevent withdrawal of this life-saving therapy from advanced heart failure patients.
Interagency Registry for Mechanical Assisted Circulatory Support
Left ventricular assist device
Mechanical circulatory support
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The authors gratefully acknowledge Jennifer Pfaff and Susan Nord of Aurora Cardiovascular Services for editorial preparation of the manuscript and Brian Miller and Brian Schurrer from Aurora Research Institute for help in preparing the figures.
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