Effects of cranioplasty (CP) and skullcap reimplantation after decompressive craniectomy (DC) for cerebral hemorrhage or malignant brain infarction in patients with left ventricular assist device support (LVAD) as bridge to transplantation has not been surveyed yet. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome and management after CP when aiming for transplantation.
Data were collected from our prospective institutional database including all patients undergoing LVAD implantation between 2010 and 2019. Six patients needed CP-procedures and were included. Our analysis focused on post-operative outcome, survival and facilitation of heart transplantation. Study endpoints included also all-cause mortality.
From a total of 1010 LVAD implantations during analysis period in our center, 6 bridge-to-transplantation LVAD patients [Median age at LVAD implantation: 32.5 years (IQR: 24.8-39.5 years); 4 male, HVAD, n=3; HM II, n=1; HM 3, n=2] underwent CP with imminent entrapment secondary to cerebral hemorrhage or malignant infarction. Primary HF etiology was myocarditis (n=2), dilated (n=2), or ischemic cardiomyopathy (n=2). Median INTERMACS class was 1.5 (IQR; 1.0-2.8). Median time on LVAD support to DC procedure was 33 months (IQR: 16-48 months). The indication for DC was intraparenchymal hemorrhage (n=4), subdural hematoma (n=1), and malignant middle cerebral artery infarction (n=1). After a median time of 4 months (IQR: 3.3-4.0 months, range; 2.0-10 months) after DC procedure, CP was subsequently performed without profound neurologic disabilities in all patients. After median time of 26 months (IQR: 21-42 months) follow up, three patients successfully received heart transplantation, one patient could undergo LVAD explantation after myocardial recovery, and the remaining two patients are still on the list awaiting heart transplantation.
CP procedure with skullcap reimplantation is feasible and can be safely performed in LVAD patients, which subsequently may even be eligible for heart transplantation with beneficial prognosis.

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