Background: Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are used more commonly in patients with advanced-stage heart failure. Some of these patients may require elective or urgent abdominal surgical procedures.
Objectives: To determine the outcomes of the management of LVAD-supported patients who underwent elective and urgent abdominal surgical procedures in our institution.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on 93 patients who underwent LVAD implantation between August 2008 and January 2017. All abdominal surgeries in these patients were studied, and their impact on postoperative morbidity and mortality was evaluated.
Results: Ten patients underwent abdominal surgical procedures. Of these procedures, five were emergent and five were elective. The elective cases included one bariatric surgery for morbid obesity, one hiatal hernia repair, two cholecystectomies, and one small bowel resection for a carcinoid tumor. The emergency cases included suspected ischemic colitis, right colectomy for bleeding adenocarcinoma, laparotomy due to intraabdominal bleeding, open cholecystectomy for gangrenous cholecystitis, and laparotomy for sternal and abdominal wall infection. All patients undergoing elective procedures survived. Of the five patients who underwent emergency surgery, three died (60%, P = 0.16) and one presented with major morbidity. One of the two survivors required reintervention. In total, 12 interventions were performed on this group of patients.
Conclusions: It is safe to perform elective abdominal procedures for LVAD-supported patients. The prognosis of these patients undergoing emergency surgery is poor and has high mortality and morbidity rates.