Previous United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) analysis has shown an increase in posttransplant mortality with pretransplant pulsatile-flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Recent studies evaluating continuous-flow LVAD demonstrated improved durability, excellent survival, and improved quality of life. This study investigates the association of preheart transplant continuous-flow LVAD placement and posttransplant mortality using the UNOS database. Heart transplant patients listed after April 2004 (N = 48,090) during the era of HeartMate (HM) II LVAD usage were investigated. Patients with UNOS 1A and 1B status with (n = 1,435) and without HMII (n = 16,379) placement before the heart transplantation were evaluated. Preliminary descriptive statistics suggested an extensive heterogeneity in patient characteristics between HMII LVAD recipients and nonrecipients. Propensity scores (1:2) were used to match HMII LVAD recipients and nonrecipients characteristics and donor characteristics. This resulted in a final sample of 2,265 patients (758 with HMII pretransplant placement and 1,507 without HMII pretransplant placement). The Kaplan–Meier curves were evaluated for the differences in postheart transplant mortality in patients with and without HMII pretransplant placement. A time-dependent Cox regression model was used to study the hazard ratios (HRs) for the association between HMII pretransplant placement and posttransplant survival. The mean age of the study group was 51.9 years old (standard deviation: 12.3). HeartMate II pretransplant placement was associated with no statistically significant difference in the risk of 30 days (HR = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.79–1.95, p = 0.36) and 1 year posttransplant mortality (HR = 1.31, 95% CI: 0.85–2.01, p = 0.22) compared with non-HMII recipients. The use of HMII LVAD before heart transplantation, however, was associated with a statistically significant 64% lower risk (HR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.16–0.77, p = 0.01) of mortality among heart transplant patients who survived beyond the first year of transplantation. Continuous-flow LVAD pretransplant placement is associated with improved long-term (>1 year) survival after heart transplantation.
From the *Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, University of Louisville Medical Center, Louisville, New York; and †Division of Cardiology, University of Louisville Medical Center, Louisville, New York.
Submitted for consideration September 30, 2013; accepted for publication in revised form January 30, 2014.
Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
Reprint Requests: Mark S. Slaughter, MD, Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, University of Louisville Medical Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way, Suite 1200, Louisville, KY 40202. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.