Cardiac assist devices.

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International anesthesiology clinics

MeSH Headings

Blood Circulation, Cardiac Output, Low, Cardiac Surgical Procedures, Cardiomyopathies, Cardiopulmonary Bypass, Edema, Cardiac, Heart, Heart Transplantation, Heart-Assist Devices, Humans, Myocardial Infarction, Myocardial Ischemia, Ventricular Dysfunction


The two primary goals of mechanical circulatory support are to provide adequate perfusion of the vital organs and to decrease cardiac work. The support of the myocardium is in an effort to cause a reversal of cardiac damage. The recovery process apparently takes place in two stages. Initially, there is a rapid functional recovery of cells in marginally ischemia areas. Then there is a slower process of hypertrophy of normal and recovering myofibers. The process involves the reversal of interstitial and of intercellular myocardial edema in areas of viable myocardium while halting the extension of necrosis into reversibly ischemic areas. It appears that this process is extended from 3 to 5 days, and functional recovery can occur for up to 2 weeks. After a 2-week period, there appears to be little functional recovery of myocardial cells. In autopsy series of nonsurvivors, it appears that most of the patients had suffered from biventricular failure. Biventricular failure appears to be one of the more common complications of the support patient. Right ventricular failure will be attempted to be supported by right ventricular assist devices. The right ventricular assist device, unfortunately, adds a level of complication to the recovery process for the bridge-to-transplant or cardiomyopathy patient. The patients who are involved in support fall into three categories: (1) the bridge-to-transplant patient, (2) the patient recovering from postcardiotomy, and (3) the patient who recovers from an acute myocardial insult. It appears that after 2 weeks the recovery period for all of these groups demonstrates no further functional recovery. The bridge-to-transplant patients usually need to be supported until the transplant occurs. The postcardiotomy patient and the acute myocardial failure patient are the most disappointing support group, since they have a higher morbidity and mortality, and a lower chance of recovery. Salvage rates appear to be in approximately the 25% range in the acute insult category.



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