October 1, 2021
Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing With Echocardiography to Assess Recovery in Patients With Ventricular Assist Devices
Christle, J. W., Moneghetti, K. J., Duclos, S., Mueller, S., Moayedi, Y., Khush, K. K., Haddad, F., Hiesinger, W., Myers, J., Ashley, E. A., Teuteberg, J. J., Wheeler, M. T., Banerjee, D.
The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is an established treatment for select patients with end-stage heart failure. Some patients recovered and are considered for explantation. Assessing recovery involves exercise testing and echo ramping on full and minimal LVAD support. Combined cardiopulmonary exercise testing with simultaneous echo ramping (CPET-R) has not been well studied. Patients were included if they had CPET within the previous 6 months, were clinically stable, and had an INR >2.0 on the day of examination. Patients had CPET-R on two occasions within 14 days: (a) with LVAD at therapeutic speed and (b) with LVAD at the lowest speed possible. Six patients were between 29 and 75 years (two female). One patient did not complete a turn-down test due to evidence of ischemia on initial CPET-R subsequently confirmed as a significant coronary artery stenosis on angiography. There were no significant differences in CPET or echo metrics between LVAD speeds. Two patients were explanted due to presumed LV recovery and remained event free for 30 and 47 months, respectively. Serial CPET-R seems safe and feasible for the evaluation of LV and global function and may result in improved clinical decision making for LVAD explantation.