Maintenance of valvular integrity with Impella left heart support: Results from the multicenter PROTECT II randomized study.
BACKGROUND: The Impella 2.5 axial flow pump, which is positioned across the aortic valve, is widely employed for hemodynamic support. The present study compared structural and functional integrity of the left heart valves in patients undergoing Impella vs intra-aortic balloon pump in the randomized PROTECT II trial.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Transthoracic echocardiograms were performed at baseline, 1 and 3 months in 445 patients in the PROTECT II trial. Serial studies were analyzed by an independent echocardiography core laboratory for aortic and mitral valve structure and function, and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). During Impella support there was no appreciable change in the degree of baseline valvular regurgitation. There were no cases of structural derangement of the mitral or aortic valve after use of the Impella device. At 90-day follow-up, there was an average 22% relative increase in LVEF from baseline (27% ± 9 vs. 33% ± 11, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The present echocardiographic analysis of the PROTECT II study confirms prior observations regarding the safety of the Impella 2.5 device with respect to mitral and aortic valve function.