LVAD Problems and Troubleshooting

LVAD 2 schematicCommon problems with LVADs include driveline infections, hypo/hypervolemia related to underlying CHF, bleeding related to often desired anticoagulants as well of von-willebrand factor deficiencies related to the pump, and electrolyte disorders related to diuretics and kidney function.

Serious problems with LVADs include acute coronary syndrome and dysrhythmias.  While the LVAD can maintain the left ventricle function, deficits in right ventricular function can be problematic.  Additionally, hypovolemia can lead to a specific problem where the fluid drawn out of the left ventricle is in excess of the flow entering the left ventricular.  If the speed of the pump remains the same, the walls of the ventricle will ultimately collapse on themselves.  LVADs are designed to deal with situation by decreasing the speed until flow has returned.

Driveline Infections

Dysrhythmia

If LVAD, VT and VF are a big deal because these patients lose filling from the right side. In BiVADs, not a big deal.

Decompensated Vital Signs

Low or High Power

VAD power ranges

VAD_Power_Ranges

Troubleshooting Power Abnormalities

VAD_Power_Differentials

Clot on inflow or outflow-decreased power

Afterload increase-decreased power

Clot on Rotor-increased power

Hypovolemic-decreased power

GI Bleed

Acquired vWF leads to mucosal bleeding. These folks need to go to transplantation ASAP if possible.

Cardiac Arrest

Chest Compressions seem to be safe in Zack and Joe's Case Report

Additional Information

See this incredible lecture from the Maryland CC Project


Keep up with the EDECMO Project


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  1. […] a thorough description of components, functionality and indications for LVAD’s, check out EDECMO’s blog post for an excellent LVAD overview. Below is a more in depth approach to the complications […]

  2. […] For a thorough description of components, functionality and indications for LVAD’s, check out EDECMO’s blog post for an excellent LVAD overview. Below is a more in depth approach to the complications […]

  3. […] ED ECMO — LVAD Problems and Troubleshooting (2014) […]