Sternum-Sparing HVAD Implantation with Attachment of the Outflow Graft to the Descending Aorta

Masashi Kawabori, Andre Critsinelis, Chitaru Kurihara, Tadahisa Sugiura, Jeffrey A. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The standard approach for implanting an HVAD left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is performing a median sternotomy and sewing the outflow graft to the ascending aorta. However, in patients with sternal comorbidities, it may be advantageous to use a sternum-sparing approach. We retrospectively studied eight patients who underwent HVAD implantation for destination therapy via a left subcostal or fifth/sixth intercostal space incision. With this procedure, the outflow graft was sewed to the descending aorta. Ninety-day and one-year survival rates were 87.5% and 75%, respectively. Two patients (25%) died during the perioperative period: one from multisystem organ failure and the other from unrelated causes. We adjusted the HVAD speed to open the aortic valve once every three to four beats. Compared with other continuous-flow LVAD implantations performed at our institution during the study period (n = 437), this technique resulted in shorter bypass times and a lower incidence of infection; it was not associated with an increased incidence of heart failure, aortic root thrombosis, pump thrombosis, progression of aortic insufficiency, or ischemic neurologic dysfunction. Our findings suggest that a sternum-sparing approach for HVAD implantation is feasible and may be a safe option in patients with serious comorbidities that preclude the use of traditional implantation techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1013
Number of pages8
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • HVAD
  • circulatory support devices
  • descending aorta
  • heart failure
  • implantation
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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