Back to Journals » Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology » Volume 5

Ventricular assist devices for heart failure: a focus on patient selection and complications

Authors Cipriani M, De Simone V, D'Angelo L, Perna E, Lilliu M, Bovolo V, Oliva F, Frigerio M

Received 9 May 2014

Accepted for publication 28 June 2014

Published 9 September 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 199—211


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Manlio Cipriani, Vincenzo De Simone, Luciana D'Angelo, Enrico Perna, Marzia Lilliu, Virginia Bovolo, Fabrizio Oliva, Maria Frigerio

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Department, A De Gasperis Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy

Abstract: Heart transplantation represents the “gold standard” for the treatment of patients with end-stage heart failure, but remains challenged by inadequate donor supply, finite graft survival, and long-term complications arising from immunosuppressive therapy. In addition, a lot of patients waiting for a heart transplant experience clinical deterioration, and other patients become ineligible to undergo this treatment due to their age or relevant comorbidities. Left ventricular assist devices have emerged as a valid therapeutic option for advanced heart failure. In recent years, we have seen significant advances not only in the technologies available, but also in patient selection, indications for use, and management after implantation. Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of implants and an improvement in the survival rate and quality of life for these patients. At the same time, there are new challenges on the horizon. Patient selection is a difficult process, based on clinical and imaging parameters and risk scores, and more data are needed to refine patient selection criteria and the timing of the implant. Left ventricular assist device-related complications are still a serious problem, causing adverse events and hospital readmissions. Continuous progress in the development of these implantable devices, such as a further reduction in size and hopefully the abolition of the external driveline, will probably make ventricular assist devices an option also for less advanced stages of heart failure. Here, we discuss the current indications for left ventricular assist device implantation, patient selection criteria, and the most frequent complications associated with these devices.

Keywords: mechanical circulatory support, heart failure, destination therapy, bridge to transplantation, heart transplant

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]