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.
- aortic valve insufficiency
- heart failure
- left ventricular assist device
- mechanical circulatory support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine