Prevalence of Cerebral Microbleeds in Patients With Continuous‐Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices
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Background The prevalence of cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in gradient echo T2*‐weighted brain MRI has a positive correlation with hemorrhagic stroke incidence. However, the prevalence of CMBs in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) has not been evaluated. We evaluated the prevalence of CMBs and the relationship with hemorrhagic stroke incidence in patients with LVADs.
Method and Results We analyzed results from brain MRI in prospective examinations of 35 consecutive patients who had undergone LVAD explantation for heart transplantation or recovery since 2011. The number and distribution of CMBs were counted, then the relationship between baseline characteristics and adverse events during LVAD support were analyzed. The mean age was 37.7±12.4 years and the mean LVAD duration was 2.43±1.08 years. Thirty‐four (97%) patients had at least one CMB. Nine (26%) developed hemorrhagic stroke during LVAD support, and patients with hemorrhagic stroke had a significantly greater number of CMBs compared with patients without hemorrhagic stroke (5 [interquartile range (IQR), 4–7] versus 9 [IQR, 5–23]; odds ratio 1.14 [95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.02–1.32], P=0.05). There was no significant relationship between age, LVAD support duration, or systolic blood pressure during LVAD. However, patients who had at least one episode of bacteremia (9 [IQR, 4–16] versus 5 [IQR, 3–7], P=0.06) and pump pocket infection (14 [IQR, 4–27] versus 5 [IQR, 3–7], P=0.08) showed a trend toward a greater number of CMBs than patients without bacteremia.
Conclusions Thirty‐four (97%) patients with continuous‐flow LVAD had at least one CMB, and the number of CMBs were more prevalent in patients with hemorrhagic stroke and in patients with LVAD‐related infection.