This article by Mehra et al was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2017. The full text of the article is available to subscribers to this journal via this link. The Library and Knowledge Service can obtain the full text of the article for registered members by requesting it via the library website document request form.
BACKGROUND: Continuous-flow left ventricular assist systems increase the rate of survival among patients with advanced heart failure but are associated with the development of pump thrombosis. We investigated the effects of a new magnetically levitated centrifugal continuous-flow pump that was engineered to avert thrombosis.
METHODS: We randomly assigned patients with advanced heart failure to receive either the new centrifugal continuous-flow pump or a commercially available axial continuous-flow pump. Patients could be enrolled irrespective of the intended goal of pump support (bridge to transplantation or destination therapy). The primary end point was a composite of survival free of disabling stroke (with disabling stroke indicated by a modified Rankin score >3; scores range from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) or survival free of reoperation to replace or remove the device at 6 months after implantation. The trial was powered for noninferiority testing of the primary end point (noninferiority margin, −10 percentage points).
RESULTS: Of 294 patients, 152 were assigned to the centrifugal-flow pump group and 142 to the axial-flow pump group. In the intention-to-treat population, the primary end point occurred in 131 patients (86.2%) in the centrifugal-flow pump group and in 109 (76.8%) in the axial-flow pump group (absolute difference, 9.4 percentage points; 95% lower confidence boundary, −2.1 [P<0.001 for noninferiority]; hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.95 [two-tailed P=0.04 for superiority]). There were no significant between-group differences in the rates of death or disabling stroke, but reoperation for pump malfunction was less frequent in the centrifugal-flow pump group than in the axial-flow pump group (1 [0.7%] vs. 11 [7.7%]; hazard ratio, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.60; P=0.002). Suspected or confirmed pump thrombosis occurred in no patients in the centrifugal-flow pump group and in 14 patients (10.1%) in the axial-flow pump group.
CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with advanced heart failure, implantation of a fully magnetically levitated centrifugal-flow pump was associated with better outcomes at 6 months than was implantation of an axial-flow pump, primarily because of the lower rate of re-operation for pump malfunction.