To investigate the incidence and outcome of driveline infections in patients supported with a continuous flow left ventricular assist device (HeartMate II (HMII)) and to study the microbiological aetiology.
Retrospective analysis of 31 patients who received an implantation of a HMII. Follow-up was from implantation to either device explantation, death or closure of the study. Clinical signs of infections were divided into superficial, deep or systemic and compared to culture and gram stain, the clinical course and infectious parameters.
The incidence of driveline infections was 1.65 episodes per patient per year. Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli were the most common bacterial aetiology. More than two weeks of treatment was required in 81% of the patients. In terms of detecting superficial driveline infections, leucocyte count demonstrated a sensitivity of 27% and C-reactive protein (CRP) a sensitivity of 28%. In 22 cases of driveline infections plasma pro-calcitonin was found to be normal.
Driveline infections are common in HMII recipients but primarily remain superficial and are reasonably easy to manage. Infectious agents mostly originate from the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Blood biomarkers did not appear to be helpful in detecting driveline infections.