A simplified echocardiographic technique for detecting continuous-flow left ventricular assist device malfunction due to pump thrombosis.
A 61-year-old woman who underwent HeartMate II left ventricular assist device placement for non-ischemic cardiomyopathy developed elevated lactate dehydrogenase within two weeks after implantation. After eight months of observation and several hospital admissions during which there was no evidence of pump thrombosis, she presented with clinically manifest hemolysis. During pump exchange there was notable pannus formation on the inflow cannula of the left ventricular assist device. The pannus around the inflow likely existed for several months, limiting the flow and creating a lowgrade hemolysis and this low flow state stimulated thrombus formation triggering gross hemolysis. Thoratec analysis of the pump confirmed that the clot was present for about 5 days. Lactate dehydrogenase normalized after pump exchange.