A safe and reliable method of weaning from a left ventricular assist system (LVAS) is necessary for successful circulatory support in patients with marginal heart failure. The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of additional intraaortic balloon (IAB) support during weaning from an LVAS by means of the LV pressure-volume relationship. A pneumatic LVAS with a sac-type blood pump was implanted in six adult mongrel dogs weighing 14 to 20 kg. All dogs had a drainage cannula placed in the left atrium and an outflow conduit in the ascending aorta. Hemodynamic parameters, pulmonary arterial flow, and pump output were monitored. An IAB was inserted through the groin. A conductance catheter and microtip manometer were inserted into the LV cavity. As a combination driving mode, LVAS ejection in the early diastolic phase and IAB inflation in the late diastolic phase were applied. After evaluation of baseline LV function, the pressure-volume relationship was repeatedly measured during change of driving modes as isolated LVAS, LVAS + IAB (1:1), LVAS + IAB (2:1), and isolated IAB supports. Finally, LV failure was introduced by stepwise ligation of left coronary arteries, and the LV pressure-volume relationship was measured in each driving mode. Under normal conditions, the pressure-volume loop showed no significant change among the four driving modes. In contrast, the LV pressure-volume relationship significantly improved according to the degree of additional IAB support on LVAS assistance under the condition of LV failure. These results suggest that additional IAB support might improve LV energy during weaning from an LVAS.
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