Mechanical Circulatory Support: a Comprehensive Review With a Focus on Women

Manal Alasnag, Alexander G. Truesdell, Holli Williams, Sara C. Martinez, Syeda Kashfi Qadri, John P. Skendelas, William A. Jakobleff, Mirvat Alasnag

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose of the Review: The purpose of this review is to analyze the evidence for use of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) with a focus on women, namely, intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), Impella, ventricular assist devices (VAD), and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Recent Findings: There is paucity of data examining management options for cardiogenic shock (CS) in women specifically. In published data, although only a minority of MCS recipients (33%) were women, there is a trend toward even lower use in women relative to men over time. Women presenting with CS tend to have a higher risk profile including older age, greater comorbidities, higher Society of Cardiothoracic Surgery (STS) mortality scores, more hypotension and index vasopressor requirements, and longer duration of CS. Overall, women receiving mechanical support suffer increased bleeding and vascular complications and have higher 30-day readmission rates. Summary: The incidence of cardiogenic shock (CS) has been rising at a higher rate in women compared to men. Women in CS tend to present with an overall higher risk profile including older age, greater burden of medical comorbidities, more hypotension and index vasopressor requirements, higher STS mortality scores, and more out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. After adjusting for comorbidities and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, mortality remained higher in younger women compared to men of similar age. In spite of these facts, evidence points to the underutilization of support devices in eligible female patients. Higher complication rates, such as vascular complications requiring surgery and bleeding requiring transfusion, may be deterring factors that limit the use of MCS and hinderoperator confidence and experience with devices in women. This suggests that future research should address the sex disparities in outcomes of contemporary MCS practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiogenic shock (CS)
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Impella
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)
  • Mechanical circulatory support (MCS)
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD)
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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