Radiographic risk factors for intracranial hemorrhage in patients with left ventricular assist devices


      • Most LVAD patients have available head imaging which may be reviewed
      • LVAD patients are high risk for ICH based on radiographic features on head CT
      • Masses, vascular pathology, and microangiopathy predict intracranial hemorrhage
      • A screening head CT may identify high-risk patients for ICH with LVADs
      • Complete risk stratification with imaging allows medical optimization against ICH



      Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) is a devastating complication. Demographic risk factors for ICH in LVAD patients are defined, however anatomic predispositions to ICH are unknown. We sought to interrogate intracranial radiographic risk factors for ICH in LVAD patients.


      We reviewed 440 patients who received an LVAD from 2008-2021. We selected patients with CT scans of the head either before or after LVAD placement, but typically within 5 years. 288 patients (21 ICH, 267 Control) with imaging were included. A detailed chart review was performed on demographics, radiographic features, and management.


      The incidence of ICH in our total cohort was 8.6% (38/440). The presence of pump thrombosis (p=0.001), driveline infection (p=0.034), other hemorrhage (p=0.001), or previous placement of a cardio-defibrillator (p=.003) was associated with increased risk for ICH. An analysis of imaging revealed that the presence of a mass (p=0.006), vascular pathology (p=0.001), and microangiopathy (p=0.04) was significantly associated with ICH in LVAD patients. These radiographic features were validated with a multivariate logistic regression which confirmed presence of a mass (aOR 332.1, 95% CI: 14.7-7485.1, p<0.001), vascular pathology (aOR 69.7, 95% CI: 1.8-2658.8, p=0.022), and microangiopathy (aOR 6.5, 95% CI: 1.1-37.6, p=0.035) were independently associated with ICH.


      Radiographic evidence of microangiopathy, intracranial mass, and vascular pathology are independent risk factors for ICH which are readily identified by imaging. We advocate that CT imaging be used to further stratify patients at highest risk of ICH during treatment with an LVAD.


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