To clarify the mechanism of hyperbilirubinemia in the setting of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), the change in hepatocellular function, hepatic sinusoid endothelial microcirculation, and inflammatory response before and after LVAD implantation were evaluated. Eight consecutive patients underwent the placement of an LVAD, and serum levels of total bilirubin (TB), transaminases [alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST)], interleukin (IL-6, IL-8), and hyaluronic acid (HA), an indicator of hepatic sinusoidal circulation, were measured before and after LVAD implantation. The TB of all patients increased significantly in the first post operative week (p < 0.05 vs. pre-operatively). In five patients, the elevated TB (4.6 ± 4.1 mg/dl) returned to pre-operative levels (2.7 ± 2.0 mg/dl) by the 14th post operative day (Group R), but in the other three patients who died of multiple organ failure, the level of TB increased to 39.9 ± 16.4 mg/dl (Group A). Levels of HA and IL-8 had good correlation with the level of TB (HA: r = 0.60, p < 0.05; IL-8: r = 0.55, p < 0.05). However, AST, ALT, and IL-6 were not related to changes in TB. These results suggest that hepatic sinusoid endothelial dysfunction and inflammatory reaction may play a significant role in hepatic failure in patients following implantation of an LVAD.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.