Proximal thoracic aorta dimensions after continuous-flow left ventricular assist device implantation: Longitudinal changes and relation to aortic valve insufficiency

Nowell M. Fine, Soon J. Park, John M. Stulak, Yan Topilsky, Richard C. Daly, Lyle D. Joyce, Naveen Luke Pereira, John A. Schirger, Brooks Sayre Edwards, Grace D Lin, Sudhir S. Kushwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Background: In this study we examined the impact of continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) support on proximal thoracic aorta dimensions. Methods: Aortic root and ascending aorta diameter were measured from serial echocardiograms before and after CF-LVAD implantation in patients with ≥6 months of support, and correlated with the development of >mild aortic valve insufficiency (AI). Results: Of 162 patients included, mean age was 58 ± 11 years and 128 (79%) were male. Seventy-nine (63%) were destination therapy patients. Mean aortic root and ascending aorta diameters at baseline, 1 month, 6 months, 12 months and long-term follow-up (mean 2.0 ± 1.4 years) were 3.5 ± 0.4, 3.5 ± 0.3, 3.9 ± 0.3, 3.9 ± 0.2 and 4.0 ± 0.3, and 3.3 ± 0.2, 3.3 ± 0.3, 3.6 ± 0.2, 3.6 ± 0.3 and 3.6 ± 0.3 cm, respectively. Only change in aortic root diameter from 1-month to 6-month follow-up reached statistical significance (p = 0.03). Nine (6%) patients had accelerated proximal thoracic aorta expansion (>0.5 cm/year), occurring predominantly in the first 6 months after implantation. These patients were older and more likely to have hypertension and baseline proximal thoracic aorta dilation. Forty-five (28%) patients developed >mild AI at long-term follow-up, including 7 of 9 (78%) of those with accelerated proximal thoracic aorta expansion. All 7 had aortic valves that remained closed throughout the cardiac cycle, and this, along with duration of CF-LVAD support and increase in aortic root diameter, were significantly associated with developing >mild AI. Conclusion: CF-LVAD patients have small increases in proximal thoracic aorta dimensions that predominantly occur within the first 6 months after implantation and then stabilize. Increasing aortic root diameter was associated with AI development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
StateAccepted/In press - 2015



  • Aorta
  • Aortic valve insufficiency
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Mechanical circulatory support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this