BACKGROUND - There are increasing numbers of patients undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) with left ventricular assist device (LVAD) explantation (LVAD explant-OHT). We hypothesized that LVAD explant-OHT is a more challenging surgical procedure compared to OHT without LVAD explantation and that institutional LVAD explant-OHT procedural volume would be associated with post-transplant graft survival. We sought to assess the impact of institutional volume of LVAD explant-OHT on post-transplant graft survival.
METHODS - This is a retrospective analysis of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for adult OHTs with long-term LVAD explantation. LVAD explant-OHT volume was characterized on the basis of the center's year-specific total OHT volume (OHTvol) and year-specific LVAD explant-OHT volume quartile (LVADvolQ). The effect of LVADvolQ on graft survival (death or re-transplantation) was analyzed.
RESULTS - From 2004 to 2011, 2,681 patients underwent OHT with LVAD explantation (740 with HeartMate XVE, 1,877 with HeartMate II and 64 with HeartWare devices). LVAD explant-OHT at centers falling in the lowest LVADvolQ was associated with reduced post-transplant graft survival (p = 0.022). After adjusting for annualized OHTvol (HR = 0.998, 95% CI 0.993 to 1.003, p = 0.515 and pulsatile XVE (HR = 0.842, 95% CI 0.688 to 1.032, p = 0.098), multivariate analysis confirmed a significantly (approximately 37%) increased risk of post-transplant graft failure among explant-OHT procedures occurring at centers in the lowest volume quartile (HR = 1.371, 95% CI 1.030 to 1.825, p = 0.030).
CONCLUSION - Graft survival is decreased when performed at centers falling in the lowest quartile of LVAD explant-OHT for a given year. This volume-survival relationship should be considered in the context of limited donor organ availability and the rapidly growing number of LVAD centers.
Copyright © 2014 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.