Driveline damage and repair in continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices: A systematic review

Nicholas D. D'Antonio, Elizabeth J. Maynes, Robert T. Tatum, Kyle W. Prochno, Abhiraj Saxena, Simon Maltais, Louis E. Samuels, Rohinton J. Morris, H. Todd Massey, Vakhtang Tchantchaleishvili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


With mounting time on continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) support, patients occasionally sustain damage to the device driveline. Outcomes associated with external and internal driveline damage and repair are currently not well documented. We sought to evaluate the outcomes of driveline damage and its repair. Electronic search was performed to identify all relevant studies published over the past 20 years. Fifteen studies were selected for analysis comprising of 55 patients with CF-LVAD dysfunction due to driveline damage. Demographic and perioperative variables along with outcomes including survival rates were extracted and pooled for the systematic review. Most patients (53/55) were supported on HeartMate II LVAD (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL). Internal damage was more commonly reported than external damage [69.1% (38/55) vs. 30.9% (17/55), P =.01]. Median time to driveline damage was 1.9 years [IQR 1.0, 2.5]. Most patients presented with a CF-LVAD alarm [94.5% (52/55)] and patients with internal driveline damage had a significantly higher rate of alarm activation compared to that observed for those with external damage [38/38 (100%) vs. 14/17 (82.4%), P =.04]. Patients with internal driveline dysfunction were more likely to experience component wear compared to those with external driveline dysfunction [10/38 (26.3%) vs. 0/17 (0%), P =.05]; 14.5% of patients (8/55) underwent external repair of the driveline, 5.5% (3/55) were treated with rescue tape, and 5.5% (3/55) were placed on an ungrounded cable, indicating a short-to-shield event had occurred. A total of 49.1% of patients (27/55) underwent CF-LVAD exchange, 5.5% (3/55) were weaned off the CF-LVAD to explant, and 5.5% (3/55) underwent emergent heart transplantation. The median length of hospital stay was 12 days [IQR 7, 12] and 30-day mortality rate was 14.5% (8/55). Driveline damage was more commonly reported at an internal location and despite being a well-recognized complication, mortality still appears high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-826
Number of pages8
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous-flow left ventricular assist device driveline
  • device malfunction
  • driveline damage
  • driveline infection
  • driveline repair
  • heart transplant


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