BACKGROUND: Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy improves the hemodynamics of advanced heart failure patients. However, it is unknown whether hemodynamic optimization improves clinical outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether hemodynamic optimization reduces hospital readmission rate in LVAD patients.
METHODS AND RESULTS: LVAD patients undergoing an invasive hemodynamic ramp test were prospectively enrolled and followed for 1 year. LVAD speed was optimized using a ramp test, targeting the following goals: central venous pressure <12 mm Hg, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure <18 mm Hg, and cardiac index >2.2 L/(min.m(2)). The frequency and cause of hospital readmissions were compared between patients who achieved (optimized group) or did not achieve (nonoptimized group) these goals. Eighty-eight outpatients (median 61 years old, 53 male) underwent ramp testing 236 days after LVAD implantation, and 54 (61%) had optimized hemodynamics after LVAD speed adjustment. One-year survival after the ramp study was comparable in both groups (89% versus 88%). The total hospital readmission rate was lower in the optimized group compared with the nonoptimized group (1.15 versus 2.86 events/y, P<0.001). This result was predominantly because of a reduction in the heart failure readmission rate in the optimized group (0.08 versus 0.71 events/y, P=0.016).
CONCLUSIONS: LVAD patients, in whom hemodynamics were optimized, had a significantly lower rate of hospital readmissions, primarily because of fewer heart failure admissions. These findings highlight the importance of achieving hemodynamic optimization in LVAD patients.