Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) withdrawal with ventricular recovery represents the optimal outcome for patients previously implanted with an LVAD. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the patient outcomes of device withdrawal via minimally invasive pump decommissioning as compared with reoperation for pump explantation. An electronic search was performed to identify all studies in the English literature assessing LVAD withdrawal. All identified articles were systematically assessed for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Overall, 44 studies (85 patients) were included in the analysis, of whom 20% underwent decommissioning and 80% underwent explantation. The most commonly used LVAD types included the HeartMate II (decommissioning 23.5% vs. explantation 60.3%; p = 0.01) and HeartWare HVAD (decommissioning 76.5% vs. explantation 17.6%; p < 0.001). At median follow-up of 389 days, there were no significant differences in the incidence of cerebrovascular accidents (p = 0.88), infection (p = 0.75), and survival (p = 0.20). However, there was a trend toward a higher recurrence of heart failure in patients who underwent decommissioning as compared with explantation (decommissioning 15.4% vs. explantation 8.2%, cumulative hazard; p = 0.06). Decommissioning appears to be a feasible alternative to LVAD explantation in terms of overall patient outcomes.
- continuous flow left ventricular devices
- HeartMate II
- minimally invasive pump decommissioning
- pump decommissioning