How do mechanical circulatory support patients die? Autopsy findings for left-ventricular assist device/total artificial heart nonsurvivors

Bart, Nicole K. and Robson, Desire and Muthiah, Kavitha and Jansz, Paul C. and Hayward, Christopher S. (2023) How do mechanical circulatory support patients die? Autopsy findings for left-ventricular assist device/total artificial heart nonsurvivors. The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 42 (12). pp.1753-1763. ISSN 10532498

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Link to published document: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2023.07.001

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although life saving for end-stage heart failure patients, permanent mechanical circulatory support (MCS) is often the proximate cause of death in those that do not survive to transplant. Autopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosing causes of death and a vital tool for better understanding underlying pathology of nonsurvivors. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and outcomes of autopsy investigations and compare these with premortem clinical assessment. METHODS: The autopsy findings and medical records of all patients who underwent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) or total artificial heart (TAH) insertion between June 1994 and April 2022 as a bridge to transplant, but subsequently died pre-heart transplantation were reviewed. RESULTS: A total of 203 patients had a LVAD or TAH implanted during the study period. Seventy-eight patients (M=59, F=19) died prior to transplantation (age 55 [14] years, INTERMACS=2). Autopsies were conducted in 26 of 78 patients (33%). Three were limited studies. The leading contributor to cause of death was respiratory (14/26), either nosocomial infection or associated with multiorgan failure. Intracranial hemorrhage was the second most common cause of death (8/26). There was a major discrepancy rate of 17% and a minor discrepancy rate of 43%. Autopsy study added a total of 14 additional contributors of death beyond clinical assessment alone (Graphical Abstract). CONCLUSIONS: Over an observational period of 26years, the frequency of autopsy was low. To improve LVAD/TAH patient survival to transplant, better understanding as to cause of death is required. Patients with MCS have complex physiology and are at high risk of infection and bleeding complications.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2024 03:27
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 03:27
URI: http://eprints.victorchang.edu.au/id/eprint/1454

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