There’s been a big debate re: who should care for LVAD patients… a general anesthesiologist or a cardiac anesthesiologist? See below for pros and cons of each. Ultimately, I think all anesthesiologists should be comfortable caring for these patients as we’ll see more and more LVAD patients undergoing procedures.
Goals of care for LVAD patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery should be directed at maintaining forward flow and adequate perfusion. Three main factors that affect LVAD flow are preload, RV function, and afterload.
The right ventricle is the primary means of LVAD filling; therefore, maintaining RV function is imperative.
Marked increases in systemic vascular resistance should be avoided.
Generally, decreases in pump flow should first be treated with a fluid challenge. Hypovolemia should be avoided and intraoperative losses should be replaced aggressively. Second line treatment should include inotropic support for the right ventricle.
Low-dose vasopressin (<2.4 U/h) may be the vasopressor of choice due to its minimal effect on pulmonary vascular resistance.
Standard Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Guidelines should be followed; however, external chest compressions should be avoided during cardiac arrest.
Steep Trendelenburg may increase venous return, risking RV strain. Peritoneal insufflation for laparoscopic surgery also increases afterload and has detrimental effects on preload. Insufflation should utilize minimum pressures and be increased in a gradual, step-wise fashion.
TEE can be extremely valuable in diagnosing the cause of obstruction.
Conclusions: Spinal Anesthesia (SA: hyperbaric bupivacaine 9mg + fentanyl 15mcg) increased the success rate and reduced pain for both primary and re-attempts of External Cephalic Version (ECV), whereas IV Anesthesia (IVA) using remifentanil infusion (0.1mcg/kg/min) only reduced the pain. There was no significant increase in the incidence of fetal bradycardia or emergency CS, with ECV performed under anaesthetic interventions. Relaxation of the abdominal muscles from SA appears to underlie the improved outcomes for ECV.
Editor’s key points: There is no consensus on best anaesthetic technique for external cephalic version (ECV). In this study, success at ECV was higher using spinal anaesthesia compared with remifentanil infusion or no intervention. Pain was also reduced in the remifentanil group but success at ECV was no different to the no intervention group. The effect of spinal anaesthesia in ECV may relate to relaxation of the abdominal musculature.
It is both effective and cost-effective to utilize spinal anesthesia to perform ECV in term, nulliparous women with breech fetuses. Translation of this potentially impactful approach into broad obstetric practice should be undertaken.
Six RCTs met criteria for study inclusion. Regional anesthesia was associated with a higher external cephalic version success rate compared to intravenous or no analgesia (59.7% vs. 37.6%; pooled RR 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-1.93). This significant association persisted when the data was stratified by type of regional anesthesia (spinal vs. epidural). The number needed to treat with regional anesthesia to achieve one additional successful ECV was 5. There was no evidence of statistical heterogeneity (p=0.32, I2=14.9%) or publication bias (Harbord test p=0.78). There was no statistically significant difference in the risk of cesarean delivery comparing regional anesthesia to intravenous or no analgesia (48.4% vs. 59.3%; pooled RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.55-1.17). Adverse events were rare and not significantly different between the two groups.
Neuraxial Anesthesia (NA) for External Cephalic Version (ECV) increased the risk of emergent cesarean delivery (CD) without impacting ECV success. These findings differ from previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The increased risk and decreased success of our ECVs compared to ECVs performed in the context of RCTs could be explained by patient selection, variation in operator experience or technique, or variation in anesthetic management. Future studies should further evaluate the risk of NA for ECV in true practice scenarios outside of RCTs.
Results: A total of 240 subjects were enrolled, and 239 received the intervention. External cephalic version was successful in 123 (51.5%) of 239 patients. Compared with bupivacaine 2.5 mg, the odds (99% CI) for a successful version were 1.0 (0.4 to 2.6), 1.0 (0.4 to 2.7), and 0.9 (0.4 to 2.4) for bupivacaine 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 mg, respectively (P = 0.99). There were no differences in the cesarean delivery rate (P = 0.76) or indication for cesarean delivery (P = 0.82). Time to discharge was increased 60 min (16 to 116 min) with bupivacaine 7.5 mg or higher as compared with 2.5 mg (P = 0.004).
Conclusions: A dose of intrathecal bupivacaine greater than 2.5 mg does not lead to an additional increase in external cephalic procedural success or a reduction in cesarean delivery.