The impact of infection among left ventricular assist device recipients on post-transplantation outcomes: A retrospective review

Dana T. Lerman, Keith W. Hamilton, Dana Byrne, Doreen F. Lee, Kristen Zeitler, Tamara Claridge, Jaime Gray, Grace Y. Minamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) infections are common, and the consequences of LVAD infections on orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) outcomes are not well described. Aims: The aim of this study was to describe clinical characteristics and evaluate risk factors for developing LVAD infections, and examine outcomes of LVAD-specific infections (VSI) after OHT. Methods: We retrospectively investigated the records of 74 consecutive patients at two institutions who had undergone LVAD placement and subsequent OHT between January 2007 and December 2012. Results: Forty-six of 74 (62%) LVAD recipients who underwent OHT had pre-transplant infections, and 18 (24%) had LVAD-specific infection (VSI), of which 71% were caused by gram-negative organisms. Of pre-transplant non-LVAD infections, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) was the most common (26%) followed by urinary tract infection (UTI, 16%) and pneumonia (PNA 15%). Univariate analysis comparing subjects with VSI to those without VSI showed a significant association with time spent outside the hospital prior to transplantation (median 231.8 days vs 142.2 days, P < 0.03) and total time between VAD placement and OHT (244.0 days and 150.5 days, P < 0.002). Logistic regression was performed and significant predictors for VAD-related infection were age and the presence of diabetes, with type of device as an effect modifier. Six months post-OHT survival was not significantly affected by the presence of VSI prior to transplant. There was a trend toward an association between the presence of any infection and post-transplant rejection (P < 0.09). There were 10 post-transplant deaths by 6 months. Of these deaths, 4/10 (40%) were cardiopulmonary and 6/10 (60%) were related to infections. Conclusions: Advanced age and presence of diabetes were predictors of VSI, as well as type of VAD device, although device choice is likely affected by many clinical factors including age and comorbidities, as well as institution-specific preferences. VSI was not associated with a decrease in 6-month post-OHT survival. However, infections remain the major causes of death by 6 months post-transplant. Certain infections are associated with an increased risk of rejection, which merits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12995
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • LVAD infection
  • heart transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Transplantation


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