Bridge to transplantation: The Penn state experience

Demetrios Mavroidis, Benjamin C. Sun, Walter E. Pae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background. During the past decade, ventricular assist devices as a bridge to transplantation have moved from the experimental arena to accepted therapy. Our institution has been at the forefront of the development of this technology and consequently has had extensive experience with the devices that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a bridge to heart transplantation. Methods. The successful management of patients with assist devices hinges on patient and device selection as well as perioperative management strategies. The routine use of agents such as aprotinin, vasopressin, milrinone, and inhaled nitric oxide has contributed to successful management of these patients. We present our perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of the Thermo-Cardiosystems HeartMate 1000 IP device and the Thoratec (Pierce-Donachy) system. We also discuss our protocols and methods for patient selection, preoperative preparation, intraoperative strategy, and postoperative management that have resulted in improved patient outcomes. Results. More than 60 device implantation procedures have been performed since the inception of our bridge to transplantation program. During this time, two thirds of our patients were successfully bridged to transplantation. Of these patients, 92% were alive at 1 month after transplantation, and 83% were alive at 1 year after transplantation. Conclusions. Both support systems are effective in supporting patients to heart transplantation. We have developed a preference for the Thermo-Cardiosystems HeartMate 1000 IP device because of its portability and associated better quality of life. However, the Thoratec device is the more versatile device, and circumstances exist when its use is clearly advantageous. In our institutional experience, outcome for bridging to transplantation has not been device dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-687
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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