Gastrointestinal Bleeding after HeartMate II or HVAD Implantation: Incidence, Location, Etiology, and Effect on Survival

Masashi Kawabori, Chitaru Kurihara, Andre C. Critsinelis, Tadahisa Sugiura, Yuji Kaku, Andrew B. Civitello, Todd K. Rosengart, Jeffrey A. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The number of patients on destination therapy is increasing as long-term survival on continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) therapy has improved. Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a common complication after CF-LVAD implantation, and its risk correlates with longer support time, emphasizing the importance of GIB management. The lower pulsatility of CF-LVADs may promote arteriovenous malformations, which amplify the bleeding risk. Here, we retrospectively analyzed the location, incidence, and survival effect of GIB events in HeartMate II (HM-II) and HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD) recipients to provide specific details regarding these complications. From November 2003 to March 2016, 526 patients with chronic heart failure underwent primary implantation of an HM-II (n = 403) or HVAD (n = 123) CF-LVAD at our center. Of the 526 patients, 140 (26.6%) had a GIB event (HM-II: n = 100; HVAD: n = 40), 92 (17.5%) had a single GIB event, and 48 (9.1%) had multiple GIB events (range: 2-9 events). HVAD recipients had a higher incidence of both upper and lower GIB events (p < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively) than HM-II recipients. Arteriovenous malformation was the most common etiology for GIB (50 patients/72 events); for this group, the average time-to-event was 300.4 days, the recurrence rate was 34%, and the 90-day and 1-year survival rates were 88.3% and 66.7%, respectively. Age at implantation was the only predictor of GIB. In conclusion, our study provides detailed information about GIB events associated with current CF-LVADs. Additional studies are required to evaluate strategies to reduce the incidence of GIB morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • LVAD
  • complications
  • gastrointestinal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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