Experience with the HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device in Patients Older than 60 Years
Background: Advanced age is a relative contraindication for heart transplantation, but no age cutoff has been defined for patients receiving mechanical circulatory support.
Methods: Between November 1, 2003 and November 1, 2012, we implanted the HeartMate II (HMII) left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in 319 patients. One hundred seven patients (89 men, 18 women) were over 60 years old (mean, 66 ± 4 years; range, 61-78 years) and received the HMII as a bridge to transplantation (n = 45) or as destination therapy
(n = 62). We evaluated their experience by performing a retrospective analysis.
Results: Seventy-two patients had ischemic cardiomyopathy, and 34 had idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Three patients (2.8%) already had a HeartMate XVE LVAD; 54 (50.5%) were receiving intra-aortic balloon pump support; 52 (48.6%) had undergone a previous cardiac procedure; and 9 (8.4%) had received renal replacement therapy (RRT) (continuous venovenous hemofiltration, hemodialysis, or both) before HMII implantation. The median duration of HMII support was 313 days (range, 1-3339 days). After device implantation, 36 patients (33.6%) had gastrointestinal bleeding, 24 (23%) required RRT, 18 (17.5%) had ventricular arrhythmias, and 24 (22.4%) had LVAD-related infections, and 9 (8.4%) had right ventricular failure requiring mechanical support, and 28 (26.2%) had neurologic complications. The actual survival rate was 69% at 6 months, 63% at 1 year, and 54% at 2 years. Eighty-one patients died; 9 are still receiving HMII support; and 17 are alive after heart transplantation.
Conclusions: Older patients can benefit from LVAD therapy, and advanced age should not preclude LVAD implantation.
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