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Blood Pressure Control in Continuous Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Efficacy and Impact on Adverse Events

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.07.069
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Background Continuous flow (CF) left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are afterload sensitive and therefore pump performance is affected by hypertension. In addition, poorly controlled hypertension may increase the risk of aortic insufficiency (AI) and stroke. Blood pressure regimens after CF LVAD have not been studied and their impact on rates of AI and stroke are unknown. Methods Patients who had CF LVAD at a single center and were supported greater than 30 days were included. Blood pressure was monitored at home by Doppler. Outpatient management of blood pressure was conducted according to a predefined institutional protocol (target mean arterial pressure ≤80 mm Hg). Results A total of 96 patients were included. At the end of follow-up, 25 patients were not on an antihypertensive drug, of these 9 died. Of the 74% receiving antihypertensives, 54% required 1 medication, 34% were on 2, 10% were on 3, and 3% were on 4 or more. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (85% of patients on an antihypertensive) and beta blockers (30%) were the most commonly prescribed medications. There was a significantly higher neurologic event rate in those on no antihypertensives compared with those on antihypertensives (p = 0.009). Only 3% of patients with no or mild AI at baseline progressed to develop moderate or greater AI after a mean of 201 days of follow-up. Conclusions Blood pressure control can be achieved in patients with CF LVADs, with the majority of patients requiring only 1 or 2 antihypertensives.

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