The effect of ventricular assist devices on post-transplant mortality an analysis of the United network for organ sharing thoracic registry

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Age Factors; *Cause of Death; Cohort Studies; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Graft Rejection; Graft Survival; Heart Transplantation; Heart-Assist Devices; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Preoperative Care; Probability; Reference Values; Registries; Risk Assessment; Sex Factors; Survival Analysis; *Tissue and Organ Procurement; United States; Waiting Lists


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the relationship between pre-transplant ventricular assist device (VAD) support and mortality after heart transplantation.

BACKGROUND: Increasingly, VADs are being used to bridge patients to heart transplantation. The effect of these devices on post-transplant mortality is unclear.

METHODS: Patients 18 years or older who underwent first-time, single-organ heart transplantation in the U.S. between 1995 and 2004 were included in the analyses. This study compared 1,433 patients bridged with intracorporeal and 448 patients bridged with extracorporeal VADs with 9,455 United Network for Organ Sharing status 1 patients not bridged with a VAD with respect to post-transplant mortality. Because the proportional hazards assumption was not met, hazard ratios (HRs) for different time periods were estimated.

RESULTS: Intracorporeal VADs were associated with an HR of 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02 to 1.43; p = 0.03) for mortality in the first 6 months after transplant and an HR of 1.99 (95% CI: 1.44 to 2.75; p < 0.0001) beyond 5 years. Between 6 months and 5 years, the HRs were not significantly different from 1. Extracorporeal VADs were associated with an HR of 1.91 (95% CI: 1.53 to 2.37; p < 0.0001) for mortality in the first 6 months and an HR of 2.93 (95% CI: 1.19 to 7.25; p = 0.02) beyond 5 years. The HRs were not significantly different from 1 between 6 months and 5 years, except for an HR of 0.23 (95% CI: 0.06 to 0.91; p = 0.04) between 24 and 36 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Extracorporeal VADs are associated with higher mortality within 6 months and again beyond 5 years after transplantation. Intracorporeal VADs are associated with a small increase in mortality in the first 6 months and a clinically significant increase in mortality beyond 5 years. These data do not provide evidence supporting VAD implantation in stable United Network for Organ Sharing status I patients awaiting heart transplantation.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009 Jan 20;53(3):264-71. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American College of Cardiology

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Link to Article in PubMed

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