BACKGROUND: Hemodynamic ramp (HR) tests can guide the optimization of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) speed and direct medical therapy. We investigated the effects of HR-guided LVAD management.METHODS AND RESULTS: This prospective, multicenter, randomized, pilot study compared outcomes in LVAD patients using an HR-guided (HR group) versus a standard transthoracic echocardiography-guided (control group) management strategy. Patients were enrolled and randomized 1 to 3 months post-HVAD implantation and followed for 6 months. Twenty-two patients (57±10 years, 73% male) were randomized to the HR group and 19 patients (51±13 years, 63% male) to the control group. HR group patients had double the number of LVAD speed changes (1.68 versus 0.84 changes/patient, P=0.09 with an incidence rate ratio 2.0, 95% CI, 0.9-4.7) with twice the magnitude of rotations per minute changes (130 versus 60 rotations per minute/patient, P=0.004) during the study. The HR group also had 2-fold greater heart failure medication changes (4.32 versus 2.53 changes/patient, P=0.072, incidence rate ratio 1.7 with 95% CI, 0.8-3.5) predominantly because of changes in diuretic dose (40 versus 0 mg/patient, P<0.001). The HR group had numerically but not statistically higher event-free survival (62% versus 46%, P=0.087; hazard ratio, 0.46 with 95% CI, 0.2-1.2), with numerically but not statistically lower events per patient-year ( P=0.084). There were no significant differences in the 6-minute walk or Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire tests at 6 months.CONCLUSIONS: In this randomized pilot study of LVAD patient management we demonstrated the feasibility of standardized HR testing at multiple institutions and that a strategy guided by hemodynamics was associated with more LVAD speed and medication adjustments and a nonsignificant reduction in adverse events. A pivotal study to demonstrate the clinical benefit of HR testing is warranted.CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT03021239.
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