Left ventricular support by axial flow pump: The echocardiographic approach to device malfunction

Emanuele Catena, Filippo Milazzo, Emanuela Montorsi, Giuseppe Bruschi, Aldo Cannata, Claudio Russo, Alberto Barosi, Giuseppe Tarelli, Paolo Tartara, Roberto Paino, Ettore Vitali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Axial flow pumps have gained increased acceptance in recent years as a bridge to heart transplantation and, more recently, as destination therapy. As left ventricular (LV) assist device dysfunction will be increasingly prevalent, the aim of our work was to introduce an echocardiographic management protocol as a guide to recognize the causes of pump failure. In this article we describe the echocardiographic approach to 5 episodes of malfunction of an axial flow pump (DeBakey, MicroMed Technology Inc, Houston, Tex) in 4 patients: 4 episodes caused by thrombosis of LV assist device and one caused by abnormal increase of systemic vascular resistance. In our experience, echocardiography played a pivotal role in clinical management of LV assist device failure. It allowed us to: assess patency and position of inflow and outflow cannulae; research the source of thromboembolic material; assess adequate LV filling and unloading; and optimize right ventricular function, volume replacement therapy, and pharmacologic support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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