Incidence, predictors, and clinical impact of electrical storm in patients with left ventricular assist devices: New insights from the ASSIST-ICD study


      Ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) can occur after continuous flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation as a single arrhythmic event or as electrical storm (ES) with multiple repetitive VA episodes.


      We aimed at analyzing the incidence, predictors, and clinical impact of ES in LVAD recipients.


      Patients analyzed were those included in the multicenter ASSIST-ICD observational study. ES was consensually defined as occurrence of ≥3 separate episodes of sustained VAs within a 24-hour interval.


      Of 652 patients with an LVAD, 61 (9%) presented ES during a median follow-up period of 9.1 (interquartile range [IQR] 2.5–22.1) months. The first ES occurred after 17 (IQR 4.0–56.2) days post LVAD implantation, most of them during the first month after the device implantation (63%). The incidence then tended to decrease during the initial years of follow-up and increased again after the third year post LVAD implantation. History of VAs before LVAD implantation and heart failure duration > 84 months were independent predictors of ES. The occurrence of ES was associated with an increased early mortality since 20 patients (33%) died within the first 2 weeks of ES. Twenty-two patients (36.1%) presented at least 1 recurrence of ES, occurring 43.0 (IQR 8.0–69.0) days after the initial ES. Patients experiencing ES had a significantly lower 1-year survival rate than did those free from ES (log-rank, P = .039).


      There is a significant incidence of ES in patients with an LVAD. The short-term mortality after ES is high, and one-third of patients will die within 15 days. Whether radiofrequency ablation of arrhythmias improves outcomes would require further studies.


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