Indexed on: 19 Dec '12Published on: 19 Dec '12Published in: Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
A competent aortic valve is essential to providing effective left ventricular assist device support. We have adopted a practice of central aortic valve closure by placing a simple coaptation stitch at left ventricular assist device implantation in patients with significant aortic insufficiency. We conducted a follow-up study to evaluate the efficacy and durability of this procedure.The study included patients who had undergone continuous flow left ventricular assist device implantation. The patients were divided into 2 groups, those who did not require any aortic procedure because the valve was competent and those who underwent central aortic valve closure for mild or greater aortic regurgitation. The clinical endpoints were mortality, progression or recurrence of aortic insufficiency, and reoperation for aortic valve pathologic features. Aortic insufficiency was measured qualitatively from mild to severe on a scale of 0 to 5.A total of 123 patients received continuous flow left ventricular assist devices from February 2007 to August 2011. Of those, 18 (15%) underwent central aortic valve closure at left ventricular assist device implantation because of significant aortic insufficiency (1.8 ± 1.4) and 105 who did not (competent aortic valve, 0.15 ± 0.43; P < .01). At follow-up (median, 312 days; range, 0-1429 days), the mean aortic insufficiency score remained low for the patients with central aortic valve closure (0.27 ± 0.46) in contrast to those without central aortic valve closure who experienced aortic insufficiency progression (0.78 ± 0.89; P = .02). In addition, the proportion of patients with more than mild aortic insufficiency was significantly less in the central aortic valve closure group (0% vs 18%; P = .05). The patients in the central aortic valve closure group were significantly older and had a greater incidence of renal failure at baseline. The 30-day mortality was greater in the central aortic valve closure group, but the late survival was similar between the 2 groups. No reoperations were required for recurrent aortic insufficiency.The results of our study have shown that repair of aortic insufficiency with a simple central coaptation stitch is effective and durable in left ventricular assist device-supported patients, with follow-up extending into 2 years. Although aortic insufficiency progressed over time in those with minimal native valve regurgitation initially, no such progression was noted in those with central aortic valve closure. Additional investigation is needed to evaluate whether prophylactic central aortic valve closure should be performed at left ventricular assist device implantation to avoid problematic aortic regurgitation developing over time, in particular in patients undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation for life-long (destination therapy) support.