Review Article on Left Ventricular Assist Devices
Echocardiographic assessment for ventricular assist device placement
While many factors depend on successful implantation and outcome of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), echocardiography remains an integral part and is vital to the success of this process. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) allows interrogation of all the cardiac structures and great vessels. The pre-implantation TEE exam establishes a baseline and may identify potential problems that need palliation. Among these, most significant are aortic insufficiency (AI), intracardiac thrombi, poor right ventricular (RV) function, and intracardiac shunts. The post-implantation exam allows for adequate de-airing of the heart and successful LVAD initiation. The position and flow profiles of the inflow and outflow cannulas of the LVAD may be assessed. Finally, it assists in the astute management and vigilant identification and correction of a number of complications in the immediate post-implantation period. TEE will continue to remain vital to the successful outcomes LVAD patients.