Mechanical circulatory support with systems that require transcutaneous cannulas or drive lines are associated with a high incidence of device related infections. The development of infection often is related to the duration of support. Data were reviewed on 10 patients (nine men and one woman) supported with assist devices (Thoratec-five, Novacor-three, Sarns-one, Jarvik-one) for longer than 30 days (range, 31–440; mean, 137 days). Seven patients had device related infections. Five also had positive blood cultures with the same organisms responsible for the device related infection. Two had mediastinitis from an ascending infection (one cannula and one drive line). Eight patients were transplanted, with seven survivors. One patient was weaned and survived, and one died during support. These data show that device related infections are common and severe, but they do not preclude successful transplantation, weaning, or survival.
©1991 American Society of Artificial Internal Organs