Left Ventricular Assist Device Exchange Increases Heart Transplant Wait-List Mortality

Alejandro Suarez-Pierre, Kent Stevens, Katherine Giuliano, Cecillia Lui, Charles D. Fraser, Chun W. Choi, Robert S. Higgins, Ahmet Kilic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The new heart transplant allocation criteria prioritize inpatients who require temporary mechanical circulatory support and give lower urgency to candidates on a durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) who require a device exchange. This study explores whether the latter group should warrant higher priority to reduce wait-list mortality. Methods: This is a retrospective observational study of 13,113 adult heart transplant candidates in the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database who underwent LVAD implantation between 2007 and 2017. It evaluates the impact of LVAD exchange on the composite endpoint of death or removal from the wait list owing to worsening medical condition 1 y after device implantation. Results: There were 1085 pump exchanges in 954 patients (7% of candidates), of which 22% were women. The pump exchange rate was 5.92 events per 100 patient-years. One-year survival was lower for those who required a pump exchange (76.3% versus 88.5%, logrank P < 0.001). This was congruent with the risk-adjusted mortality 1-y after implantation (hazards ratio: 2.56, 95% confidence interval: 2.18-3.00, P < 0.001). Conclusions: These findings indicate that among candidates awaiting heart transplantation with a durable LVAD, undergoing pump exchange doubles the risk of 1-y mortality. Giving priority to these candidates may reduce wait-list mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Heart transplantation
  • Left ventricular assist device exchange
  • Pump exchange
  • Transplant candidate
  • Ventricular assist device
  • Waitlist mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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