Left Ventricular Assist Devices, Kidney Disease, and Dialysis

Bethany Roehm, Amanda R. Vest, Daniel E. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) improve survival in patients with advanced heart failure. As LVAD use increases, so do the number of patients with LVADs who also have kidney disease. However, there are only sparse data on how best to care for these patients. This review provides an overview of LVAD principles and indications, including blood pressure assessment and criteria for receipt of both destination and bridge to transplantation LVADs. Following LVAD implantation, kidney function may improve in the short term, particularly if cardiorenal physiology was present; in the longer term, data remain limited. Individuals with glomerular filtration rates chronically < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2, including those treated with maintenance dialysis, are generally ineligible for destination LVADs. However, select patients with advanced chronic kidney disease can be considered for LVADs as a bridge to heart or heart-kidney transplantation. Patients who develop acute kidney injury and require dialysis following LVAD implantation have high mortality rates. Although thrice-weekly hemodialysis is the most common modality for patients with LVADs, peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis are additional options. Peritoneal dialysis in particular may be associated with lower risk for bloodstream infection and fewer hemodynamic shifts. For those treated with hemodialysis, arteriovenous fistulas can successfully be used for vascular access. Many questions remain, including optimal anemia management and refinement of hemodialysis protocols for patients with an LVAD, and further research is needed in this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • acute kidney injury (AKI)
  • arteriovenous fistula (AVF)
  • blood pressure
  • cardiorenal syndrome
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • dialysis
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • heart failure
  • heart transplant
  • kidney transplant
  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
  • peritoneal dialysis
  • renal function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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