Clinical experience with sternotomy versus subcostal approach for exchange of HeartMate II left ventricular assist device

Behzad Soleimani, Edward R. Stephenson, Lauren C. Price, Aly El-Banayosy, Walter E. Pae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background The safety and efficacy of exchanging the HeartMate II (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, CA) left ventricular assist device (LVAD) through a less invasive subcostal approach remains unclear. Methods We reviewed the records of 17 patients who underwent exchange of their HeartMate II device at our institution since 2007. We divided the cohort into devices exchanged through a subcostal (SC) approach versus a median sternotomy (MS) approach and obtained data pertaining to the short- and long-term outcomes. Results Nine patients had pump exchange through an MS approach versus 8 patients who underwent an SC approach. The mean duration of support with the first pump was 540 ± 450 days. The reason for exchange was electromechanical failure (7 patients), thrombosis (8 patients), and infection (2 patients). There were no 30-day perioperative deaths with either approach. Compared with sternotomy, patients who underwent an SC approach had significantly shorter operative times (131 vs 222 minutes; p = 0.001) and lower reoperation rates for bleeding (0 vs 44.4%; P = 0.05) and required fewer transfused blood products (packed red cells, 3.5 units vs 7.1 units; p < 0.05; cryoprecipitate, 50.7 mL vs 209.3 mL; p = 0.01; and platelets, 292 mL versus 762 mL; p < 0.05). Additionally, patients who underwent an SC approach had shorter postoperative stays in the intensive care unit (ICU) (5 days vs 13.8 days; p < 0.05) and shorter total hospital stays (16.4 days vs 27.2 days; p < 0.05). Long-term survival after mean follow-up of 260 days for the SC group and 232 days for the sternotomy group was 75% and 33%, respectively. Conclusions Exchange of the HeartMate II pump can be accomplished with low morbidity and mortality and good long-term outcomes through a less invasive SC approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1577-1580
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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